Reciprocal Club: Vincent’s Club, Oxford

In the week before Christmas we were delighted to receive an enthusiastic reply in response to our offer of reciprocity from the Vincent’s Club in Oxford. Located centrally between Jesus & Oriel colleges, it couldn’t be more conveniently located for the visiting Athenaeum tourist.

Vincent’s has had a long and illustrious history, and still plays a useful and highly enjoyable role in the life of many Oxford students as pre-eminently a sporting club and the natural home of many of the university’s finest scholar-athletes.

The club was founded in 1863 by Walter Bradford Woodgate, a Brasenose scholar, was a great oarsman, he rowed in the Oxford Blue boat, he won eleven Henley titles and is said to have introduced Coxless Fours to this country. They set up the club house above the publishers at 90 High Street, named Vincent, and thus the club got its name.

Its atmosphere is unique, with a strong sporting ethos, as evidenced by the photographs and memorabilia hanging on the walls. The Club’s members are drawn from the top sportsmen and sportswomen of Oxford, with famous alumni ranging from Sir Roger Bannister through to Tokyo 2020 gold medallists.

Behind the famous blue door, you will find a wood panelled bar with a comfortable adjoining lounge, complete with leather Chesterfields set around cosy fireplaces, a small seminar/private dining room for 6 to 8 people, and a larger dining room for up to 40 formal diners or 60 when used as a conference space.

Their full-time chef delivers first-class food in a unique dining room overlooking the High Street, the University Church of St Mary and college rooftops.

Lunch bookings close the day before, although walk-ins are more than encouraged! Please note that dining bookings must be made at least seven days in advance.

After 6pm, members and their guests are required to observe the Club’s smart dress code.

Gentlemen are required to wear a tailored jacket, tie and fully button-fronted shirt, fastened at the collar. Gentlemen who remove their jackets must wear long-sleeved shirts fastened at the cuff.

Ladies are required to wear any of the following equivalent smart dress: blouse and smart trousers (including corduroys), shirts, dresses or formal jumpsuit.

Oxford is one of my favourite tourist destinations within the UK, so I’m looking forward to visiting our most recent addition to the Athenaeum’s expanding reciprocity offering.