Popular night club Baby Love is marking its final week at its current site with a series of parties.
LGBTQ club night Poptarts had its last event on the King Edward Street site on Tuesday and drew in large crowds, while tonight will see the last installment of alternative music night Supermarket before Baby Love moves to the Castle Tavern.
A post on the Facebook event for the Supermarket party said: “We’re still going to be cooking up a storm at the world famous BABYLOVE BAR off the high street. Word on the street (and Martin who runs it) have confirmed that we’ll be moving at some point in the future…stay tuned and keep grooving, more info to come.”
A May Day party was also scheduled for yesterday, with the bar believed to be open to 6am.
According to a Facebook post by the bar’s manager Martin Forde, there is an official last party taking place on Sunday.
“I will have a final party on Sunday Bank Holiday 4th May till the wee hours. All our friends and family are welcome to remember the good times and the VERY good times, (and the ones that will be kept a secret for LIFE!),” it read.
A college email newsletter suggested this week that the bar’s new location may be designed to match the layout of the current club, with an upstairs bar and a downstairs dance floor (although this is unconfirmed).
The Castle Tavern occupies a prominent position on the corner of Castle Street, near the Westgate Centre. According to its website, it serves meals as well as alcohol.
It has been described by local publication Oxford Daily Info as “one of the friendliest hubs of Oxford’s gay pubbing scene.”
Managers at the club set up a chalk board outside the venue on Tuesday evening, and regular customers posted messages detailing their happy memories of the club.
One second-year student at Univ wrote an ode to the bar:
“To love and lust and sweaty walls, the basest vulgarity of these hallowed halls,
“With a greasy pole and desperate men, the question’s not if, my darling, it’s when.
“The love that dare not speak its name, Baby Love, our pride, your shame.”
Other messages on the board were just as heartfelt. One said: “The gaytriarchy wishes farewell”, while many simply said “SHOTS”.
The Oxford Student broke the news of Baby Love’s moving plans over the vacation, after landlords Oriel College announced that they were taking the building back to redevelop the whole street.
At the time, students raised their concerns over the move 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.”
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.”
The reaction to the decision to move from the current site also provoked a storm on social media, with many mourning the loss of the club.
Tom Rutland, OUSU President, said: “We will fight this to the death/chucking out time”. A minority, however, were not as concerned. John Owen tweeted: “Good riddance. Oxford’s least ideal club for wadham sweat crew breathes its last.”
Baby Love is known as one of Oxford’s most popular venues, and describes itself as “easily Oxford’s most eclectic music venue,” attracting “gregarious ravers and shape-throwing students alike”.
It easily survived a mild controversy last year when the club promoter behind Poptarts decided to move the night to the Plush Lounge after concerns were raised over safety and the attitude of door staff.
The promoter claimed there were “increasing security threats upon LGBTQ customers” after an altercation between a customer and bouncer. Forde hit back at this, claiming at the time that “the whole idea that I would tolerate homophobic behaviour is completely ridiculous”.