Not to be confused with actual monsters, I catch up with Kevin at Big Scary Monsters Social Club, bottle shop and record shop on Cowley Road.
What are these big scary monsters?
Sadly for some, there are no actual monsters to speak of, sorry kids; but what we do have is a really exciting bottle shop and record shop that opened over the pandemic.
A bit of background, the name comes from a record label, Big Scary Monsters, that Kevin founded 20 years ago. This label is still going strong and based in St Clements. At that time he dreamed of having his own record shop, live acoustic performances with like-minded people talking about the local music scene. Fast-forward 20 years, throw in a passion and love for craft beer, and there you have it! A space for those who love to get hold of some vinyl, grab a beer and listen to live music. What’s not to like.
Founders Kevin, Gemma and Lee had a vision of providing an extensive range of takeaway beer, in-store live performances and good beer on draught. A couple of years of planning, a number of locations reviewed, and a fair few beers sampled, all seemed on track for the dream to become a reality. Enter COVID-19. This delayed the opening, as it was due to open sometime in the first lockdown, and meant the full vision couldn’t go exactly to plan. However, the offering provided during the pandemic ticks a lot of boxes.
Kevin hadn’t planned for making such an extensive website for the shop, but this was the only way to make the shop a reality during a pandemic. The webshop is packed full of beers and I challenge you not to find something you won’t enjoy!
What’s on offer?
As I write this, a fantastic offering of cans and bottles are available for pickup or home delivery. Fridges are stocked full of amazing beers from brilliant breweries local, national and overseas. The overall selection is insane providing circa 350 different beers. Prices vary from £2.50 up to £10 – for some of the rarer beers. I need to get my hands on some Mikkeller before its gone. Spend over £30 and local delivery is free, or it’s £8 for National delivery through APC. Do check the radius with them as they’ll do all they can to help if you are local!
The wide selection of beer might seem daunting, but Big Scary Monsters will help find the ‘right beer for you’. They’re also keen to open your eyes to the sheer variety of beers that are being produced. Visit and have a chat about what you like, and you will come away with some amazing beer.
Take a look at the website and you’ll find some familiar names on the craft brew circuit – with the likes of Tiny Rebel, Gipsy Hill, Deya and Cloudwater – but there are some real gems as well with Neon Raptor, Arbor and Track breweries.
Kevin wants to stock beers you and I want to drink, be it an interesting pastry stout or cracking IPA. Keen to stock local brews as well, Tap Social, Loose Cannon, Chadlington and Little Ox Brewery all feature.
What does the future hold?
Moving towards some kind of normality, the plan is to have a couple of draught lines and make use of outdoor tables and benches. Live music – government regulations allowing – will also feature.
The beer collection will grow from brilliant local brews to the weird and wonderful sours and pastry stouts; it all sounds good to me.
What I love about BSM is how sad Kevin is when beers sell out. A true fan of the beers he sells. He would love to see more bottle shops open as well, just not on Cowley Road – Okay! If you have a favourite beer or brewery, don’t be afraid to ask if he can get hold of it. This is a really nice touch and reinforces that passion for beer and keeping customers happy.
If you want gluten free or low alcohol beer, don’t worry they have it covered. The range will be expanding and changing all the time. A word of advice, don’t wait to order that beer you want as it might well be gone next time you look!
I look forward to being able to sit outside and sample some exciting beers over the summer. Bring on the warmer weather and the back of COVID-19, please.
Big Scary Monsters Social Club 96 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JE
Win beer from Big Scary Monsters!
We’ve teamed up with Big Scary Monsters to offer Bitten readers 6 bottles of beer, chosen by BSM.
- Follow @bsmsocialclub on Instagram.
- Follow @bittenoxford on Instagram.
- Comment on our Instagram post, tagging a friend.
- One tag per comment, you can comment multiple times and each will be counted as an individual entry.
- The giveaway closes on Friday 26th March at midnight GMT.
- One winner will be chosen at random after the closing date and contacted directly via Instagram.
- You must be a UK resident, and able to collect the beers from BSM at 98 Cowley Rd, Cowley, Oxford OX4 1JE within 1 week of the giveaway closing. Check their website for the latest opening hours.
- Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc.
- Proof of age will be required upon collection of the beer.