Big Scary Monsters Social Club - a craft beer bottle shop also selling vinyl records - is to close.

The shop at 98 Cowley Road - known as BSM Social Club - was launched at the end of 2020 by Kevin Douch, and he has been running it with Gemma Hefferon-Douch and Leigh Shorter.

Now, despite the support of loyal customers over the past three years, a decision has been taken to close due to 'skyrocketing costs'.   

READ MORE: Florence Pugh's father laments loss of bar

It's not the first Cowley Road business to fall victim to the cost of living crisis.

Reign, a vintage store which traded for 17 years, closed in April and Atomic Burger closed in January.

And restaurateur Clinton Pugh has revealed his Cafe Tarifa has been re-possessed and has blamed LTNs in east Oxford for making trading conditions difficult.

BSM Social Club tweeted earlier today: "We're very sad to say the BSM Social Club will be closing at the end of September.

"We've had the absolute BEST three years but we've reached a break in our lease and unfortunately due to skyrocketing bills we've had to make the difficult decision to call it a day."

Oxford Mail: BSM Social Club is to close

Beneath a headline entitled The Long Goodbye, the thread on Twitter added: "We're gonna miss this place dearly but are happy and proud we get to leave it under our own terms and have this final four months to share it with you all."

READ MORE: New Premier Inn looks ready to open

It thanked customers for their support, adding: "This incredible community which welcomed and supported us through the pandemic, cost of living crisis and so much more has meant everything. We're gutted to be closing but so happy to have met you all."

Oxford Mail: Gemma Hefferon-Douch at BSM Social Club

The statement added staff had welcomed 'seeing friendships formed, and even proposals made'.

"This little venue truly lived up to its Social Club name," it said.

"We'll be planning some events to help see the place out in style, and wanted to give you all as much notice as possible to say if you'd like to hang out, or perhaps still haven't had a chance to visit, you have until the end of September.

Oxford Brookes Scholarly Communications replied: "You have all been great. Sorry we didn't buy more records."

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Regular customer Verity Hoper said: "In my opinion it's been way more than a beer shop and super innovative mini bar.

"It's been a cultural hub and after having lived and loved the Cowley Rd for many many years it's one of the key places that has continued to make the Cowleyfornia Strip the extremely special place it is. The staff have always been so friendly, knowledgeable and great fun.

"I feel I'm part of the problem recently because I just haven't been able to afford to go out as much as I used to. But what can I do? I can't magic money. If I could, BSM would be in my top go to places."

At the age of 17, Mr Douch launched the Big Scary Monsters independent record label and some of the records by bands on the label were sold at the Cowley Road shop.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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