George Sandbach, managing director of new piano and wine jazz bar Sandy’s to open in the summer on Oxford’s King Edward Street, located between the High Street and Oriel Square, describes his hopes and dreams for the project
“Sandy’s came about for a few reasons. Firstly the nightlife in Oxford for non-students, the 25+ category, offers nothing past the hour of 12am. There are lots of cocktail bars and clubs at this time that are either filled with students or with heavily intoxicated locals. I manage both our Wine Cafes in Oxford and really struggled to advise tourists or even Londoners, who are across for the weekend, where to go after we stop serving. The Oxford Wine Cafes are a fantastic combo of coffee in the morning and quality, boutique wines in the evening with a small but delicious menu open until 11pm or 12am on the weekend. I knew there was a need for a late night venue without Jaegerbombs, UK Top 40 blaring out of the speakers, or 16-year-olds trying to sneak in!
“Our new venue will be without these themes but will still be open until late, 2 maybe 3am, we shall see what the demand is. Every Sunday we have jazz in our Summertown branch in North Oxford which is a huge hit. Packed every Sunday, this addition has drawn crowds and obviously there is a demand. We, the Oxford Wine Company, supply two piano bars in London, the owner of which is now a good friend of ours. After talking over this venue with him he piped up and said ‘why not have a piano bar in Oxford?’ The sceptic that I am I tried to punch holes in this idea but came to realise that actually this was a fantastic opportunity.
“There is very little live music in Oxford and if there is you have to do your research. With us, there will be live music every night and the best part is that it’s free. We will have an in-house pianist and try to get a guest band in once a week with perhaps a ‘come and play’ night, the latter of which must need some more attention! The idea is to have upbeat jazzy music with some old classics throughout the night with fantastic wines, requests will also be taken.
“We really hope to start a new trend in Oxford and in the towns near us. There seems to be a vast amount of young people missing London and moving back there due to the lack of quality nightlife or social scene in Oxford compared to that of London. We are trying to buck the trend and create a more unique scene in Oxford and hope others follow suit too, whether it is in music or something totally different. We are still essentially part of The Oxford Wine Company and so we will be offering a large selection of ‘by the glass wines’ from around the world and another selection of ‘wine by the bottle’. We will also be offering a small range of wine based cocktails, a range of beers and small select nibbles. We are looking to target the 25+ market, Oxfordshire based out-goers who have been frustrated with the lack of quality late night venue bars in Oxford compared to that of London. Don’t get me wrong there are some bars in town I do attend at this hour but in all honesty I still want to have a conversation with my girlfriend or group of mates at 12am not having to shout in their ear to talk about Federer’s graceful backhand!”