Oxford inspires: historic pubs and cutting-edge cocktails
Oxford today is home to a vibrant bar and club culture that offers plenty of cutting-edge fun as well as eccentric charm. The local bar and pub scene really does have something for everyone, from cozy old pubs to lively cocktail hangouts, quirky cafes and arty performance nights.
To start off your Oxford bar-hopping adventure, why not tuck into some tapas at the Kazbar? This atmospheric bar offers Spanish-style snacking in a souk-like ambiance. Mellow and relaxed, it’s a great place to enjoy a glass or two of the various wines on offer – chiefly Spanish, all worth a try.
Cocktail lovers will be thrilled with Angels, a fun and lively bar with plenty of local fans. Get there fairly early – the classic cocktails draw a big crowd and it tends to get crammed. Besides, drinks are discounted before 9pm.
The Varsity Club
Want a really good view of those famous spires? Chill out on the roof terrace at The Varsity Club, admiring the skyline while you sip one of their masterful cocktails.
If you’re looking for a place to party with a group of friends, Anuba is ideal. On trend and urban, it’s the perfect place for a sophisticated get-together.
Once you’ve gathered your squad at Anuba, you can take the party next door to The Bridge. This superclub boasts three floors of music and its own enticing bar.
Oxford‘s real stand-out cocktail hotspot is the legendary Raoul’s. Offering scores of different rums and whiskeys, dozens of tequilas, and a whole host of homemade syrups, bitters, sherbets and fresh-squeezed juices, there’s very little Raoul’s can’t whip up for you. Raoul’s also doubles as a liquor store where you can grab all the ingredients to whip up that perfect concoction back home, and there are even cocktail masterclasses where you can learn a few of Raoul’s secrets for yourself.
If you’re in the market for some bohemian charm, you just can’t do better than the Catweazle Club. A local institution, this intimate performance space offers live music and performances of all kinds, from avant-garde mystics to duelling trombonists. Every night is guaranteed to be different. For the more extroverted, there’s even the option to sign up as a performer: arrive before 7pm and put your name down in exchange for free entry and a chance to be part of Oxford history. While the full bar might not be groundbreaking, it’s well-stocked with interesting tipples to lubricate your vocal chords for the open mic.
The Eagle and Child
History and literature buffs will make a beeline for The Eagle and Child. Also given the nickname of The Bird and Baby, this is one of the most famous pubs in Oxford – possibly in the country. The Eagle and Child is perhaps best known as the place where notables such as C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien met with other members of the Inklings literary society, and it retains much of its old-school charm today. More recently, it has become a favorite of crime author Colin Dexter – so fans of Inspector Morse, or his successor Lewis, should make sure to add the pub to their bucket list.
Fans of the aforementioned series should also check out the White Horse. Squeeze into this iconic little one-room pub (one of Morse‘s favorite haunts) to brood dramatically into your pint like your fictional hero – or maybe just to enjoy the encyclopedic range of real ales on offer.
Another excellent choice for a quiet pub visit is the Bear Inn. This low-ceilinged 13th-century den is noted for its collection of ties, all supposedly cut off clients who were deemed in need of a more relaxed attitude.
Well there you have it! Whether you prefer your drinking establishments ancient, modern or somewhere in between, Oxford has the place for you.