Pubs & Bars, Oxford
Historic pub in a courtyard down an obscure alleyway. You would never just stumble upon it by accident, but nevertheless it's always pretty full. I've never wanted for a seat in there mind. Good, basic, food. It was here that Hardy's Jude the Obscure, the frustrated would-be undergraduate, got drunk and recited the Creed in Latin while standing ona table. Don't try this today folks!
Right, listen carefully. Inspector Morse was undoubtedly pleased with the puzzle of finding his way here. From the Broad, turn into Catte Street, and then left into New College Lane. Go under the ornate bridge known as the Bridge of Sighs. On the left just past the bridge there's a tiny alleyway between buildings. If you look carefully you can see the word TURF and an arrow painted on the wall. Follow this alley round several doglegs and there you are!
There's a pub on Alfred Street that's bloody marvelous, but I can't remeber the name for the life of me. Oh, wait a moment... It's the Bear. The walls are plastered with ties. Over five thousand by last count. And it's got a wonderful, cozy, slightly dodgy, built-in-1242 charm to it. Brilliant really.
I small pub with low ceilings and a very nice atmosphere. The fact that this is the oldest pub in Oxford still hasn't made it a touristy place, there are locals, students and tourists drinking here.
Try to look as if you don't know any of the beers on tab and you will get a free sample before you order. At least they gave me one :)
Dress Code: If you're tall don't wear high heals - or you won't fit in the pub in height ;)
Ocford's most well known Irish pub is O'Neill's though how a place which did not show the Irish world cup games can call itself an Irish pub I just do not know. Nevermind, they serve good Caffrey's.
Dress Code: None
After 11 the only palce to get alcohol - apart from the clubs - is in the late night bars (Freud's, Thirst, Love Bar, MertoN Brasserie to name 4). I'm not a huge fan if these palces as the prices are usually high and they only serve 'posh' drinks. They do serve drink beyond regular closing hours so enough said!
Here's a great challenge: try & visit all the Oxford pubs you've seen Inspector Morse drink in. (Hint, go to the very useful website http://www.morsemania.co.uk/pubs/pubs.htm to find out where they all are.) I normally recommend the Turf Tavern to everyone as the quintessential olde worlde (not too tarted up) pub, & I drink there myself. It's poky but there are three separate courtyard areas behind with braziers in Winter - it's surprisingly easy to get lost on your way back from the bar once you've had a few!
It's just so mediaeval (well, mostly 16th century if you want to be pedantic). And they serve a kicking mulled wine in Winter. And a great beef and ale pie.
The Morse Bar at the Randolph Hotel
A favourite watering hole of the eponymous detective. Pricey and sophisticated, as befits Oxford's top hotel, but I felt I had to mention it! I've sat here with a gin-and-lime waiting for a world-weary but curiously attractive inspector of police to appear at my elbow, but he never has :(
Mill House (or Nag's Head- they seem to swap between names almost constantly)
Just a really good atmosphere, nice drinks and friendly people. It's the beer garden I most like this for- its great sat on a sunny day watching the ducks swim by on the Thames.
Never seen any agression at all here, not that its exactly rife in this area! Also does some good cheap food. Now and then its two meals for five pounds which is good. Nice simple food, with roast dinners on Sunday for you meat-eaters out there!
Dress Code: Anything you want really. Just please don't come in too muddy or dirty! Most people use this as a start to the 'Ock Street run' which is the local pub crawl, so smart casual is probably best for a Friday or Saturday night.
The goose is more of a townie pub than a student's hangout. The food here is very nice and great value too. There is a nice beer-garden open in the summer months.
The only drawback is these silly licensing laws which mean the pubs all shut at 11. Oxford has a wonderful selection of pubs and I've been to almost all.
Dress Code: None of the pubs have dress codes!
Well, many of Oxford's fascinating pubs are open ALL DAY and serve light meals.... as well as a good range of ales. Cheers, everyone!