James Thorpe’s Odd Culture Group announced this morning that it would be exiting The Oxford Tavern in Petersham when the group’s lease concludes on Sunday, 2 April. 

The Oxford Tavern (locally known as The Tav) was the second venue that Odd Culture (then named Thorpe Hospitality) added to its portfolio when it purchased the lease in 2019. 

At 11am today (30 March), Odd Culture made the following statement on the Oxford Tavern’s social media: “It’s with a heavy heart that we announce our lease is up at the Oxford Tavern.”

The news comes just days after Odd Culture announced its first interstate venue in Fitzroy, Melbourne. 

“This pub has always held a special place in our heart—a space for our people to march to the beat of their own drum, and create the wild and wonderful, queer-coloured programming that resonated with the Inner West,” the statement continued. 

“It was a saving grace for us, and a lot of people in the industry, through two (or three?) lockdowns, with our Tav Delivers stint, and a lot of that drew us even closer to the community.”

Tav Delivers proved to be a major success, with Thorpe telling Australian Hotelier at the time that the pub had tripled the initial revenue target.

“Some weeks the pub was actually trading better than when it was open, just out of that kitchen,” Thorpe said. 

Indeed, Odd Culture actually ended up hiring eight additional staff just to keep up with Tav Delivers demand.

During the group’s stewardship of the pub, it also oversaw a significant remodelling of the venue’s front rooms in July of 2022, allowing for a renewed focus on live music and entertainment. Odd Culture also rationalised the back-of-house areas to ensure more efficient service and use of space. 

At the time, Thorpe said there were plans to refurbish the back rooms of the pub, and the beer garden, suggesting that the group had longer-term plans for the venue. 

Odd Culture’s statement paid homage to venue’s long past in the Inner West, and the group’s pride in playing its part in this history.

“The pub has a rich history, and we are grateful to have operated the place as an inclusive Petersham local, and a queer institution. We’re proud of everything we’ve put into the Tav. It’s been a wild ride, but the time has come to end this chapter.”

Finally, the statement concluded by inviting customers to share one final glass with the Odd Culture team this weekend. 

“This coming Sunday, 2 April, will be our final day of trade before handing over the reins. For a bit of fun, we’ll be running out the kegs, spirits, and other good stuff, in a glorious toast to a glorious pub. 

“We would love to see everyone there for a final drink.”

At the time of writing, it is unknown whether another operator will be stepping in.

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