‘Our College, Our Bar’: Introducing a student-led bar

Wednesday 20 October 2021


St Catharine’s is pleased to announce the appointment of a Student Bar Manager and a team of students to help run the College Bar at its main site on Trumpington Street. The launch of a student-led bar comes after months of careful planning and is intended to encourage students to make greater use of this important social space now COVID-19 restrictions have eased.

The move was inspired by a brainstorm about how to make the Bar more welcoming, which was held by the St Catharine’s catering team with JCR and MCR representatives in 2020. The College has long subsidised the Bar as a facility that benefits students, staff and Fellows during the daytime and evenings. This financial backing is not justifiable in the long term unless students continue using the Bar, especially with the College’s recent losses due to the pandemic, such as reduced student rents and conference income.

Robert Jonas, Catering & Conference Director at St Catharine’s, explained, “Since I first floated the idea of a student-led bar earlier this year, I have been delighted by everyone’s positive reactions. Retaining the existing staff who already worked on the Bar was a priority for me and my team is excited about what we can now achieve in collaboration with our students. I hope we might be able to compete with other venues in the city by making the space a more attractive and welcoming destination.”

The College has appointed Tim Sandhu as Student Bar Manager, who joined St Catharine’s in 2020 to start a PhD in psychiatry. Tim had a wealth of relevant experience creating a safe and supportive environment from his time working in bars and restaurants during his undergraduate studies, and more recently as an assistant at a school for children with special educational needs and volunteering at a charity for homeless people.

Tim commented, “We’re already looking at ways to make the Catz Bar as accessible and exciting as it can be, and we are definitely open to ideas. We have launched our very own lager (Wheel Ale!) and are planning to host a variety of events on top of the usual bops, like screening the Great British Bake Off final or working with student reps to host LGBTQ+ evenings. If you are waiting to meet up with a group or just needing a break from your studies, there will be a friendly student behind the Bar so please feel free to pop down and say hello.”

Tim Sandhu, Student Bar Manager, leaning against the College Bar, accompanied by scene of two students chatting by the illuminated Bar sign
Tim Sandhu (left) has been appointed Student Bar Manager

Tim oversees a team of approximately 10 students, who will work behind the Catz Bar in small groups throughout the week with shifts that accommodate their academic and other extra-curricular commitments. They will be supported by permanent members of College staff such as Bruno Crispino, Bar Manager, and Ana Goodchild, Head of Dining & Beverage Services. Bruno continues to oversee the management of the Catz Bar during the daytime, typically handing over to Tim’s team at 5pm.

Felix von Horstig, Food & Drink Officer for the St Catharine’s MCR Committee, added, “It’s been no mean feat to get the student-led bar and new opening hours off the ground in time for the start of term, but I’m delighted that staff and students have been able to work together to make it happen. The students who the College has appointed have a great mix of experience and are enthusiastic to make this new venture work for everyone at Catz. I’d encourage everyone to show their support by choosing the Catz Bar as a venue for your next event or even just your next informal meet-up with friends.”

Opening hours for the Catz Bar during Michaelmas Term 2021

Evenings with student-led bar (extensions until midnight possible subject to prior agreement)

Tuesdays 17.00–22.00

Wednesdays 17.00–22.00

Thursdays 17.00–23.00

Fridays 17.00–23.00

Saturdays 17.00–23.00

Sundays 17.00–22.00

Mondays – closed


Monday–Friday 08.00–17.00