Lunchtime and Sunday closings amongst major changes to St John’s Bar

“Massive annual losses” at St John’s Bar have resulted in a major cut to opening times and student concern over bar workers’ jobs.

In an email sent to students earlier this week, Domestic Bursar Joel Ouaknine outlined the new changes, including closing the bar at lunchtimes, reducing the staff members serving, and closing the bar entirely on Sundays.

These measures will also mean that the bar will stop serving hot food.

Ouaknine reported in the email that the bar had “incurred massive annual losses” and it was unsustainable to continue running in the same way following a Bar Review initially carried out in Trinity 2014 and a survey of the JCR.

JCR President Christina St Clair commented: “The bar will still be open six nights a week and we have found a way to mitigate most of the changes.

“The College Domestic Committee has agreed to our proposal that it review the changes within the year. Domestic Committee has also agreed to install security shutters and a coffee machine so we can use the space for work and socialising during the daytime.

“At our last JCR meeting on Sunday, we looked into ways to communicate our concerns to college respectfully and constructively. We will obviously miss the hot food and will miss going to the bar after Sunday formal.

“The majority, however, will be most saddened by the loss of the bar staff. They currently provide great company and conversation – comparable to a welfare role. One of my friends has even described them as “John’s answer to your Mum/Dad”. We’re in the process of pursuing an open letter to college regarding the staff which I encourage students to sign.”

A student Facebook group under the name ‘SJC Bar Action Group’ has also been set up in order to discuss “the Bar Review, the college’s finances, and the most recent rents and charges agreement” at the college. At the time of writing, this group has 120 members.

Despite student concerns, Ouaknine has stated that the changes to the bar will “will not lead to redundancies” and that “job losses are not planned”.