And they’re off! Forget Cambridge: OutUK’s own little fresher Adrian Gillan strips 'em down for a boy bender binge to examine if Oxford really makes the gay grade. The
ultimate university challenge: marks out of ten for looks, brains and sheer thrill of the chase!
Ah, the dreamy spires and crowds of bright, brainy boy babes who’ve just left home,
hungry for new knowledge. But being a mere hour from London by train, anyone can say they “went
to Oxford” these days. What's more it's such a relief to know that the smart slapper or clever cutsie
you’re currently petting may be considerably more than just a pretty face.
Oxford's dreaming spires.
Without question there are lots of gay men in Oxford and to be honest
most of them are pretty great, particularly those at university. Some people picture Oxford as
being predominently straight, white and Establishment - and indeed there are some people who are like that, but
the city can also be rather rainbow, glamourously glitzy and really quite gay.
Of course, don’t loose your head in bookish boys and neglect the truly local produce
either. Whatever your taste, most of the action occurs only five minutes’ walk from
the train station. Oxford's oldest gay pub, indeed the oldest gay pub in the UK outside of
London or Brighton, can be found here.
It's the Jolly Farmers and it can be found on the sublimely named Paradise Street.
This is ye olde community hub of a pub in town, serving up ales and cocktails amid low oak beams
and a real fire. Queer locals
of all genders and ages merrily prattle away the hours, mulling over life and
love or reliving the recent Pride blow-by-blow. Also it does good food throughout the
day up until early evening.
Loving Couple hugging in the street in Oxford.
The Plush Lounge is Oxford's only gay nightclub offering drinks offers, a broad range
of live acts and some resident DJs. It's open Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm - 4am. Fridays are
Skinter Fridays, where 7 drinks are only £1.50 each all night and then it's Bent Saturdays, where
everyone is unashamedly not straight. Entry price is £5 (students with student ID £3). There are
selected drinks for 99p before midnight on Saturdays, and fishbowl cocktails available too. The music
which is mainly gay pop classics and R&B can be variable, with some great reviews some nights and less so on others.
The unofficial cruising ground is the parkland the
other side of the ice rink near Oxpens Road and, incidentally, the site of Oxford Pride, a celebration of lesbian,
gay, bi, trans and queer life in Oxfordshire. The events supporting or arranged by Oxford Pride
promote awareness of LGBT issues by providing information, education and entertainment in a safe
and encouraging environment. Oxford Pride is a membership based non-profit organisation
run by a dedicated team of volunteers. Oxford Pride Parade & Event take place most years in late May to early June and the Festival
itself runs a few days either side of the main parade.
In 2020 and 2021 the event was held online but they will be back in full force next year
with a colourful community Parade through the beautiful city centre that brings everyone together in a welcoming
and inclusive environment.
Worth mentioning is the Old Fire Station (OFS) on George Street. It's a rather enjoyable venue
which is open to all but holds a number of gay-friendly or gay-themed events. A café-bar by day, OFS hosts dance, drag, comedy and spoken word events
all of which are highly popular - especially with that elusive much sought-after
dirty stop-out student crowd, who like to dress to impress.
Looking Out Over View Of Oxford Skyline.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Jolly Farmers (20 Paradise St; T: 01865 793759; facebook)
Old Fire Station / OFS (40 George Street; T: 01865 297190)
Oxford Pride (Oxpens Rd, around the park next to the ice rink; Website)
The Plush Lounge (27 Park End St; T: 01865 247966; Website)
Book online here and save money on Oxford hotels
Revised June 2021.