A Look Into the Other Side of Oxford’s Nightlife

By Ryan Terhune

The lights never darken over High Street and, even at 4 a.m., sounds and sights linger along Oxford’s main drag. The trumpet hits of a jazz number escape Bagel & Deli’s door as the last bags of trash are dragged onto the street. Patio furniture is scraped along the pavement. A lone car crawls through the intersections.

Like the streetlights that flood Uptown, there are people whirring and humming along High Street throughout the night. Some are students, others are locals, all are the odd breed who work the graveyard shift.

They have a love-hate relationship with the timing. On one hand, there’s the thrill of the late-night crowd and the camaraderie of your coworkers. But any veteran of the late-shift will also speak of its physical toll, of exhaustion, lost time for family, and for some, the inevitable burnout.

From the perspective of a firefighter, a hookah lounge manager and the motley midnight crew at Bagel & Deli, here’s an intimate perspective on working Oxford’s late shift.