Introducing the Butterfield Taverna

It was Plato who first suggested that necessity is the mother of invention. He clearly foresaw a distant time when meeting and socialising with friends would be transformed from the easiest, most natural thing in the world into an exercise littered with obstacles, hobbled by uncertainty and constrained by all-too-necessary health protocols. And so, with a nod to the great philosopher (and notorious party animal), we invent. Or in this case, adapt.

With the advent of the new academic year at Downing, the College’s ever-popular Butterfield Café will be reconfigured and dressed for the Autumn in all new outdoor clothes.  The brand new Butterfield Taverna is a chic, Parisian boulevard makeover that cuts out all the inconvenient travel. It’s right on the Butterfield doorstep. The designated site, currently familiar as the forecourt to Griphon House, will feature ten elegantly appointed, socially distanced, covered seating areas; bright and casual for meetings, coffee and sandwiches by day, many fully-heated under overhead lighting for a social drink with friends in the evening.

The regular music, comedy and quiz nights that have become such an integral part of the Downing down-time experience will now take place in an intimate, walled and tree-lined enclosure that we feel sure will generate a wonderfully convivial atmosphere of its own while ensuring that we can all observe the essential health guidelines necessary for our mutual wellbeing in these difficult times.

What’s more, the elegant parasols, festooned hanging lamps and welcoming table heaters will present Downing students with a future win-win situation as, once the restrictions start to lift, the Taverna will already be an established fixture, providing even more options for a great night out in College (even if it’s really a night in). At Downing, we’re determined to make sure there’s life – and leisure - during lockdown.

We think Plato would approve.