Oxford Pub guide

Posted on Sep 17, 2014


I went to Oxford a couple of weeks ago and this is a short list of some of the pubs we visited if you ever go to that wonderful city. Please bear in mind that there are only a few on here as much as I would have liked to have visited more. Another time for another day and I’ll add more to the list.

Old Black Horse

The Old Black Horse, Oxford courtesy of  www.britainexpress.com

The Old Black Horse, Oxford courtesy of

A cosy old pub and hotel that, like the Tardis seems small but is actually quite large. Built in 1217 with wooden beams and wood panelling along some of the walls, this pub sits in the St. Clement’s area of Oxford and is a good start to any casual pub crawl or even a quiet drink.
The staff were friendly and the atmosphere was perfect, even with TV screens on in the background. It didn’t do much by way for local beers but this didn’t matter too much as we had only just got off the coach after over an hour and a half. We just wanted a drink and to chill out.

The only problem I had here was the Guinness I had that smelled of glass cleaner, a problem I am finding more of in most pubs I go to now. This is a flaw with the machine that cleans the glasses for they never do a proper job. It’s best not to drink it but here it was minimal so I took the risk. I think all pubs should have water spouts on the bar itself where glasses should be washed out with water before pouring. In case you are not sure, the glass and beer smells eggy and tastes like washing-up liquid or something else. I am an ex-barman so I know the score but some in pubs will try to argue the point and pretend nothing is wrong. It’s not only disgusting but bad for your stomach too. One actually had a go at me and said he won’t change it again and that I was lucky he was doing it this time (this incident was in a pub local to me and not in the Old Black Horse).

All in all though this was a good pub and I will be going back again.

Port Mahon

Port Mahon, 82 St Clements Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire pubhistory.co.uk

Port Mahon, 82 St Clements Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire
courtesy of pubhistory.co.uk

The Port Mahon is just a short walk away from the Old Black Horse and the city centre so you are going back on yourself. Within a couple of minutes you are there.

This pub is different and has a reputation for live music, good food, local beers and a damn good atmosphere. I have been here a couple of times before and I am never disappointed with it at all. It has everything that I need. It’s popular with students and other’s alike. The staff are friendly of course and from the name you can tell it is an Irish pub with lots of Oxford character.

It does a few ales including Port Mahon at 3.9% that I found non-offensive and easy to drink.

I’ll go back to this pub time and time again.

The Turf Tavern

The Turf Tavern, Oxford courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk

The Turf Tavern, Oxford courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Probably one of the most famous pubs in Oxford, if not the United Kingdom, the Turf Tavern is a must visit.
It has featured in Inspector Morse and Lewis and has a lot of room inside and out. I have only gone in one way and that’s down a small alleyway right next to the Bridge of Sighs.

This pub is in my top ten list of all time and rarely leaves it, if at all. It’s what pubs are meant to be for.
A roast dinner will set you back at £9.95 and this is the average price of food there, give or take two or three pounds. I had Roast Beef there and it was quite nice indeed.

Beer-wise, I had a Red Ox whilst my friend had a Cavendish Dark. Both did the trick and I found it hard to leave there although time was moving on by now and we had the whole city to explore. This is one pub that you could lose yourself in for most of the day chatting with friends or reading a book.

The White Horse

White Horse Pub Broad Street Oxford

White Horse Pub Broad Street Oxford Photo: Sue Carter

The White Horse is another pub famous for Morse and Lewis with many pictures of the cast on the walls by the seating are smiling off set together.

It’s a small pub that can get busy and cramped in the summer and winter but it is always worth a visit or two. This is another gem that you may find hard to leave and doesn’t disappoint. Tourists passed by, some coming in and leaving when they saw how busy it was.

The range of ales are good here. Waylan Smithy was had here at 4.4% and food is served here as well although it is best to time it right as it can be busy in there as I have already said.

You won’t regret it

The Eagle and Child

The Eagle and Child

The Eagle and Child taken by the author Darren Greenidge

Also known as the Bird and Baby locally, this pub sits a short walk from the Ashmolean museum and was made famous by the Inklings; J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and the band so to speak, would sit in this pub and talk about their prospective works they were writing. Plaques adorn the walls to say where they sat and usually when as well.

You cannot go to Oxford without visiting this pub. It is pretty much perfect even if the Nicholson’s chain now run it. Pubs like this are what makes me always want to go to them and never bow to supermarkets or drinking indoors, something I never do.

The food is good as you would expect from Nicholson’s and the drink is varied as well.

This pub does not disappoint.

The Lamb and Flag

Lamb and Flag, Oxford courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Lamb and Flag, Oxford
courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

The Lamb and Flag is another pub used by the Inkling’s and is directly across the very wide road from the Eagle and Child and one that always has to be visited.

It has eight ales on tap as well as the usual suspects of Guinness and lagers. It also has many bottles of wine and beers as well as ciders in its fridges. I had a Lamb and lag at 4.5% and my friend had a Betty Sluggs at 4.0%.

This is a drinkers paradise here. As for the food, this pub has a huge kitchen and can get very busy being a large pub in a busy and popular area.

The Wheatsheaf

This pub is in the centre of the city and is reached by going down and alleyway like many are in Oxford and is aimed at students and rock music fans and yet it not only welcomes everyone but is probably one of the friendliest pubs I have ever been in.

The Wheatsheaf, Oxford

The Wheatsheaf, Oxford

It has a pool table at one end of the bar and the rest is for the drinkers. It has a great selection of ales on here including Iron Maiden’s Trooper Ale.

I love this pub and always make sure it gets a visit whilst there, sometimes more than once in a day. The Manager Simon is brilliant and welcoming as are all the staff. Not to be missed on the list, especially if you like live music too.