Partygoing students across the city are expressing their disappointment after popular nightclub Baby Love confirmed that it is set to move from its current site.
The club, which is still open, will eventually close and relocate as part of landlord Oriel’s plans for the redevelopment of King Edward Street.
A spokesperson for the college told The Oxford Student: “Oriel College has a long term strategy for the gradual redevelopment and improvement of King Edward Street.”
“As a result the College will be taking back the premises occupied by the Baby Love Bar shortly. We understand that the Baby Love Bar intends to relocate to new premises as soon as it can and wish it well for the future.”
The club, which is on two floors and has two bars, is known in Oxford as a popular alternative to larger, more mainstream venues. Martin Forde, who runs Baby Love, was keen to assure students that it would survive in some form.
He said: “Over the past year our landlord Oriel College has taken a decision to redevelop the site at King Edward Street, and as a result, we have mutually agreed that Baby Love would find a new home. Neither side knows exactly when this is going to happen, as third party decisions are involved.”
“Baby Love would be taking its ‘love’ to a new premises, and would inform you and all its loyal customers the minute it’s been agreed. It’s a new beginning and an exciting one for us. We can assure all our regular customers, that none of our promoted nights will be affected and parties will continue as usual, either at our present or our relocated site.”
“Baby Love would like to thank Oriel College for the years of fun it has afforded our customers and us in what has become as institution amongst the students of Oxford University. We thank them and extend all our best wishes for their future plans,” he added.
The promise of relocation was not enough for many students, some of whom placed a tongue-in-cheek blame on Oriel for the loss of the establishment.
Jane Cahill, a third-year History and Politics student at Queen’s, said: “I suspect this is really because Oriel boat club are angry that gay marriage caused so much flooding and stopped their races. Taking our Tuesdays away from us is their revenge. Unbelievable.”
Tom Rutland, OUSU President, said: “First Oriel’s JCR disaffiliates from OUSU, and now the college is endangering my favourite club nights: Poptarts and Supermarket!”
“Students can expect a strongly-worded OUSU Council motion and a priority campaign to #savebabylove when they come back in Trinity Term,” he added.
Baby Love is one of the city’s favourite nightclubs. It plays host to LGBTQ Tuesday club night Poptarts and is also home to the popular alternative music night Supermarket.
It has also hosted launch and fundraising nights for some of Oxford’s zines, including Cuntry Living and NoHeterOx**.
LJ Trup, OUSU President-elect and frequent Baby Love DJ, said: “Baby Love is my home. It’s where I grew up from a Spotify lover with a dream to a fully fledged quasi-disc jockey.”
“The toilets have been the setting for the forging of many a friendship. The panoramic view of the pole you see as a DJ is more beautiful to me than the view from the highest mountain. To lose this is like losing an aspect of my being.”
“Together we shall lament hipster nights of old and together we will fight tooth and nail to ensure the resurrection of this temple of debauchery,” he added.
“We do this for our children and our children’s children, so that they will know what it means to be an Oxonian.”
Baby Love in its current location is open every night from 8pm until 3am.
On hearing the news, Otamere Guobadia – a second-year Law student at Univ and member of the NoHeterOx** editorial team – wrote an ode to Baby Love: “I rend my garments, cursed the gods, I wept for an eternity and I’ll weep for an eternity more. How can Baby Love be no more?”
“For better or for worse, I can chart my loss of dignity through those doors, those booths, that dance floor. The dreaming spires will never be the same. ‘Stop all the clocks…'”
Cai Wilshaw, a second-year Classics student at St Anne’s, said: “For those of us who aren’t particular fans of Camera or Bridge, Babylove has always been our choice haunt on Tuesday and Thursday nights.”
He expressed his concern about the future of Baby Love: “I doubt that the owners will be able to move quickly enough to ensure the return of Poptarts and Supermarket next term, and I fear that this alleged relocation will turn out to be a load of hot air.”
“Its many revellers will miss the sweaty walls, the faint smell of sweat and regret, but most of all – the pole. I hope the owners will ensure that they replicate such features should they manage to find an alternate venue,” he added.