For many Oxford students, especially those who play university sport, the notion of a quiet Wednesday night in would be a preposterous idea, infringing on their week-in, week-out attendance of Atik, more commonly referred to as Park End by Oxford University students. However, it may actually be that far fewer students attend Atik than the packed floor of Tiki bar would, at first glance, suggest.

This is because Rekom, the UK’s largest nightclub operator in charge of chains such as Pryzm and Atik, issued a notice of intention on Monday the 15th of January 2024, outlining its plans to call in administrators to several of their nightclubs. Rekom pointed to rising costs, especially in the more recent context of the cost of living crisis, as the key reason for the company’s recent financial difficulties. In their statement, Rekom went on to comment on a few clubs which nevertheless had managed to “outperform” expectations, including Proud Mary in Cardiff and Swansea and Heid’s Bier Bar in Birmingham and Cardiff. The Oxford branch of Atik did not feature on this list.

The strain on student budgets as part of the cost of living crisis comes as only the most recent blow to the already declining nightclub industry. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic significantly reduced club footfall, it was reported that between 2013 to 2018, the value of the UK nightclub industry fell by an estimated £200m. It is believed that this decline in club attendance is largely because of shifting student habits, with the increasingly diverse range of social settings to choose from leading students to forego the flashing lights, sweaty dance floors, and often hazy memories associated with clubbing in favour of more relaxed, usually less expensive, nights out.

Located on Park End Street, Atik, Oxford’s biggest nightclub, has been there since early September 2015. The nightclub, however, was not the first in the same location, taking over the space from Lava & Ignite. After 8 years of hosting nights out for thousands of University of Oxford and Oxford Brooke’s students, Lava & Ignite shut in late August of 2015, leaving the club vacant for less than three weeks before reopening as Atik. Rekom stated that “for any venues that may not continue as part of Rekom UK, we will do our best to find new owners and save jobs”. This suggests that if the Oxford branch of Atik is shut down, then, much like after the closure of Lava & Ignite, the Oxford student clubbing scene will likely continue to feature the same mid-week student nights out, just with a new club dominating Wednesday nights.