Let’s start with the aesthetics. Lynrace in Jericho, Oxford’s newest cocktail bar, is sleek, sexy and enticing. It’s impossible to walk past without peering in the window and wishing it was 6pm, when the cocktail shakers are in motion and Jericho’s hippest crowd is sipping negronis in this stylish new space.
So it’s not wholly unsurprising to discover that Lynrace is the brainchild of local architect Paul Southouse and his son Caden, and that the pair have not only designed the space themselves, but chosen the cocktails, menus and even built the bar, while enrolling artist Rob Draper to design the ‘Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors” feature.
“It’s all my favourite things in one room, so it’s a bit like looking inside my brain,” Paul tells me from the plush chairs where he hopes many interesting conversations will be taking place over the next few months.
“That’s what Lynrace is about, being creative and bringing people together to share ideas, conversations and of course cocktails – to talk. It’s been fascinating to watch so many people nestled up here chatting, over the weekend. It’s like being in my perfect living room,” he said, having only opened on Friday.
From the acoustics to the lighting, the loos to the music, the art to the spirits, nothing has been left to chance, even the Lynrace logo being designed by Paul himself.
The idea for the bar came to him during lockdown when he was in London and chanced upon Tayēr + Elementary. He bought one of their takeaway cocktails, tried it and decided to bring the drinks to Oxford and open his own bar in Jericho, where he lives and works.
That it’s a passion project is obvious, that Paul is fully entrenched in Jericho life a given. And yet it’s still risky? “Well yes spending thousands of pounds to open a new bar is always a gamble,” he says, “but there’s nowhere else like this in Oxford and I love Jericho so why not?
“Jericho is such a unique place in terms of its demographic, and character. There are 54 independent businesses along here,” he says beckoning down Walton Street “and things are always happening here. So I hope Lynrace becomes part of that and takes on a life of its own. It’s about making connections and talking about anything but the weather.”
Devising his own cocktail menu, alongside the craft cocktails that Paul has sourced from all over the country, I want try them all. Take Gaudi’s Mosiac – baller vodka, organic fig leaf liquor, raspberry syrup, lemon and smoked raspberry (£10) – I’m so there!
And if you are a secret cocktail drinker and would prefer to stay away from the bright lights then you can pop in, buy one to take home, pour it on ice and imbibe. Everyone’s a winner!
Lynrace is at 103 Walton Street, Jericho. OX2 6EB and open Wed-Sat, 6pm-11pm. https://lynrace.com