The historic city of Oxford is famed for its prestigious university and its enviable location on the edge of the Cotswolds. The city makes a great day trip from London as there’s so much to see and do. It’s also a great place for a pint and a bite to eat; read on to find out about the best pubs in Oxford.
Discover everything from historic inns dating back hundreds of years to lively city-center pubs, as well as one or two of the best country pubs near Oxford. Whether you’re looking for a pint of real ale, a hearty pub lunch, or a nice beer garden to relax in, you’ll find them all in this charming city.
I’ve been enjoying many of the good pubs in Oxford for years and it’s definitely one of my favorite places in England for a pint, with so many options to choose from. One thing’s for sure, you certainly won’t go hungry or thirsty on a trip to this gorgeous, historic city.
Quick Look – Best Pubs in Oxford
Best Pubs in Oxford
After eating and drinking my way around Oxford, I’ve compiled this list of my favorite pubs in the city based on the atmosphere, quality of food and drinks, service, location, my personal opinion, and customer reviews (so that it’s not only based on my opinion).
1. The Turf Tavern: Top Pub in Oxford Overall
The lively Turf Tavern is a traditional British pub inside a Grade II listed building in the heart of Oxford’s university quarter. This is one of the best pubs in Oxford city center and is just a stone’s throw from famous landmarks such as the Bodleian Library and New College.
Come here for hearty pub grub from beer-battered Atlantic cod to burgers, steaks, sandwiches, ciabatta, and more (there are plenty of veggie options too). As a Greene King pub, it offers a wide selection of real ales including two of my favorites – Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale – wines, cocktails, and ciders.
This is one of my favorite spots in the city as it’s so centrally located and has an excellent courtyard beer garden for summer days. Inside, you’ll find a pub full of character with a series of cozy interconnected rooms. The Turf Taven is both family and dog-friendly so bring the whole gang along.
The Turf Tavern Information
Address: 4 Bath Place, OX1 3SUPhone: +44 (0)1865 243235Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Mon-SunMust-Try Items: Abbot Ale, Old Speckled Hen, fish and chipsAverage Cost: £4-£5.50 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £11.50-£18.95 per mainWebsite: www.greenking-pubs.co.uk
2. The Bear Inn
The Bear Inn has been serving beer to the people of Oxford since the year 1242, making it a staggering 781 years old at the time of writing (though the building as you see it today dates from the 17th Century). This is one of the top pubs in Oxford city center and is popular with locals and tourists alike.
You’ll find a wide range of ales on tap from Fuller’s London Pride (one of my favorites and the first pint I order when returning from my travels), ESB Bitter, and a range of rotating guest ales. You’ll also find a wide range of wines, spirits, cocktails, and imported beers from around the world.
There’s an excellent menu of classic pub meals that are a notch above the usual fare. You’ll find classics such as beer-battered haddock and chips on the menu, alongside delicious offerings like Fuller’s London Pride, caramelized shallot, and button mushroom pie (which is truly divine).
The Bear Inn Information
Address: 6 Alfred Street, OX1 4EHPhone: +44 (0)1865 728164Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Tue-Sat, 12 pm-10:30 pm, Sun-MonMust-Try Items: London Pride, ESB, onion, and mushroom pie with aleAverage Cost: £5-£6 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £13.95-£25.50 per mainWebsite: www.bearoxford.co.uk
3. The Old Tom
The Old Tom is home to one of the best pub restaurants in Oxford. But instead of steak and ale pie or fish and chips, you’ll be able to tuck into a Thai curry or Japanese prawn tempura with your pint of real ale, among many other tantalizing dishes from the Asian-inspired menu (I recommend the crab meat fried rice).
Despite the excellent menu from the Orient, The Old Tom is still very much a proper British pub inside and out. It’s located in the city center and has been welcoming punters for at least 3 centuries. You’ll find a well-stocked bar of interesting craft beers from around the world, as well as wines and creative cocktails.
The Old Tom Information
Address: 101 St Aldate’s, OX1 1BTPhone: +44 (0)1865 243034Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Thu, 11 am-1 am, Fri-SatMust-Try Items: Any craft beer, Thai red curry, crab meat fried riceAverage Cost: £5-£6 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £13.95 per mainWebsite: oldtomoxford.com
4. The Crown
The historic Crown is one of the most famous pubs in Oxford as it was once the drinking den of William Shakespeare as he traveled between London and his home in Stratford-upon-Avon. This traditional British pub is located in the center of the city and offers a warm welcome, cold beers, and excellent food.
You’ll find a great selection of cask ales and craft beers on tap from Nicholson’s own pale ale, to some of my favorite beers from Cornish brewers including St Austell’s Tribute and Sharp’s Doom Bar (the Doom Bar is an island in the estuary close to Padstow).
You can also sip on some great cocktails from classics like a Mojito, Espresso Martini, and Long Island ice tea, to Westcountry cider and a selection of bottled beers from around the world. They also offer a food menu of typical pub grub and homemade pies that’ll fill you up without breaking the bank (the wild boar and chorizo is a must-try).
Address: 59a Cornmarket Street, OX1 3HBPhone: +44 (0)1865 256047Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Sat, 12 pm-10 pm, SunMust-Try Items: St Austell Tribute, Espresso Martini, wild boar and chorizo pieAverage Cost: £4-£5 per pint, £8 per cocktail, £12-£17 per mainWebsite: nicholsonspubs.co.uk
5. The Four Candles
If you’re looking for an inexpensive pint, then The Four Candles is one of the best pubs in Oxford town center as this is the local Wetherspoon joint; the eponymous chain of British pubs that’s famed for its ludicrously cheap prices (I’m talking under £2 a pint kind of cheap!).
The pub is located in a historic building next to Oxford University’s history faculty and former high school for boys and stocks the usual range of guest ales, bottled beers and ciders, and cheap wines and cocktails. Despite prices being low here, the quality is as you would find in any other pub; it’s definitely worth stopping by.
I make a point of visiting the Wetherspoons in every town and city I visit, and The Four Candles is one of my favorites thanks to its handy location between Oxford’s main railway station and the university/city center. This is a great place to start your evening with good food and cheap drinks before moving on somewhere else.
The Four Candles Information
Address: 51-53 George Street, OX1 2BEPhone: +44 (0)1865 263110Operating Hours: 8 am-12 am, Sun-Wed, 8 am-1 am, Thu-SatMust-Try Items: Punk IPA, gin and tonic, all-day brunchAverage Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £10-£15 per mainWebsite: www.jdwetherspoon.com
6. The Trout Inn
The 17th Century Trout Inn is one of the best gastropubs near Oxford and sits just across the large expanse of Port Meadow. This gorgeous old pub overlooks the banks of the River Thames with plenty of outside seating, perfect for summer afternoons in the beer garden.
This is the place to go for a good meal and you can walk it off by taking a stroll across Port Meadow back to Oxford which takes just over an hour. The menu features fresh, local produce and includes a wide selection of contemporary British and European cuisine. The Sunday roast here is excellent too.
Keep an eye out for deals such as the three-course dinner and luxury bottle of wine for two for just £100. As it’s a little out of Oxford The Trout is something of a hidden gem, but due to its picturesque location on the river, it can get busy during the summer month.
The Trout Inn Information
Address: 195 Godstow Rd, Wolvercote, OX2 8PN. Click here for directions.Phone: +44 (0)1865 510930Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Sat, 12 pm-10:30 pm, SunMust-Try Items: Any real ale, local cider, Sunday roastAverage Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £10-£15 per mainWebsite: thetroutoxford.co.uk
7. The Kings Arms
The famous King’s Arms is one of the oldest pubs in Oxford and has been serving beer to happy pub-goers since 1607. The pub prides itself on an excellent selection of cask ales, trendy craft beers, hearty food, and a very warm welcome. This is definitely where you’ll find some of the best pub food in Oxford.
The menu uses British, seasonal produce and includes pub classics like beer battered fish and chips alongside more interesting dishes such as devon crab cake, pork, apple, and leek sausages, an awesome homemade scotch egg, and a range of juicy burgers (including vegetarian options).
The Kings Arms Information
Address: 40 Holywell Street, OX1 3SPPhone: +44 (0)1865 242369Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Mon-SunMust-Try Items: Any cask ale, homemade scotch egg, steak and ale pieAverage Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £13.50-£18.50 per mainWebsite: www.kingsarmsoxford.co.uk
8. The Lamb and Flag
The 500-year-old Lamb and Flag is a favorite with Oxford University students as it’s owned by St John’s College and profits are invested back into the university. The pub is located a stone’s throw from the Ashmolean Museum in the heart of the city and is one of the top pubs in Oxford for locals and visitors alike.
The Lamb has recently reopened after a forced closure due to covid, which is excellent news as this is certainly one of the most historic and famous pubs in Oxford. You’ll find a selection of rotating guest ales on tap from local breweries such as Hook Norton and local real ciders.
The Lamb and Flag Information
Address: 12 St Giles’ Street, OX1 3JSPhone: +44 (0)1865 515787Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Sun-Wed, 11 am-12 am, Thu-SatMust-Try Items: Cask ales, bar snacksAverage Cost: £4-£5 per pint, £8 per cocktail
9. The Jericho Tavern
Jericho is Oxford’s bohemian neighborhood and has arguably the best nightlife in the city. As such there are plenty of excellent pubs and bars here, and the lively Jericho Tavern is one of the best and is a sure favorite of mine. There’s a large beer garden perfect for sipping pints in the summer and live music to be enjoyed every weekend.
The Jericho Tavern is definitely one of the coolest pubs in Oxford and attracts a trendy crowd including both locals and visitors to the city. Inside, you’ll find a quirky bar that stocks an excellent selection of real ales and craft beers. There’s even a lending library where you can borrow and exchange books.
The pub has an extensive menu offering a huge range of dishes from pub classics to contemporary British cuisine and a particularly good vegan and vegetarian menu (try the fried, smoked paprika cauliflower) – I believe this is also the only place I’ve seen fish chips fried in a pale ale batter (as opposed to the more usual bitter).
The Jericho Tavern Information
Address: 56 Walton Street, OX2 6AE. Click here for directions.Phone: +44 (0)1865 311775Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Sun-Thu, 12 pm-12 am, Fri-SatMust-Try Items: Any real ale or craft beer on tap, smoked paprika cauliflowerAverage Cost: £5-£6 per pint, £10 per cocktail, £12-£17 per mainWebsite: wwwthejerichooxford.co.uk
10. The Angel and Greyhound
Real ale enthusiasts should definitely check out The Angel and Greyhound, which is just a 10-minute walk from the city center. It features a courtyard garden with heating in winter and both covered and uncovered seating for the warmer (but occasionally rainy) months.
This pub is in an excellent location with the River Cherwell running behind it which is ideal for walking off a good pub lunch – it’s dog-friendly too, so what better excuse for a post-meal meander?
The Angel also hosts regular quiz nights and other entertainment and serves up delicious food all day (the Sunday roast is excellent). This is one of the best pubs to eat in Oxford and is definitely a favorite of mine.
The Angel and Greyhound Information
Address: 30 St Clement’s Street, OX4 1ABPhone: +44 (0)1865 242660Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Mon-Sat, 11 am-10 pm, SunMust-Try Items: Any cask ale, local cider, Sunday roastAverage Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £10-£15 per mainWebsite: www.angelandgreyhound.co.uk
11. The Old Bookbinders Ale House
Continuing with pubs in Jericho, this classic Oxford hangout is one of my favorite pubs in the city and somewhat of a secret spot. The Old Bookbinders has lots going on throughout the week to entertain punters; from an open mic night to a pub quiz, live music, comedy nights, and more.
The pub prides itself on being “dog, child, and student-friendly (as long as they’re well behaved)“. One can’t help but wonder which demographic they’re referring to… You’ll find 6 hand-pumped beers on tap and a menu of tasty dishes of a decidedly French theme (the coq au vin is to die for).
This is definitely one of the best Oxford pubs for food, atmosphere, and beer. I’ll certainly be popping in on my next visit to the city. If you’re looking for quirky pubs in Oxford, be sure to pay the Old Bookbinders Ale House a visit.
The Old Bookbinders Ale House Information
Address: 17-18 Victor Street, OX2 6BTPhone: +44 (0)1865 553549Operating Hours: 4 pm-11 pm, Tue-Wed, 12 pm-11 pm, Thu-Sat, 12 pm-5 pm, SunMust-Try Items: Hand-pulled ales, local cider, coq au vinAverage Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £11.50-£24.50 per mainWebsite: craftybelle.uk/oldbookbinders/
12. The Rose and Crown
This cozy pub is another favorite with the students and is famed for its excellent selection of craft beers, its huge wine list, and its range of pies and other classic pub treats. The Rose and Crown is the perfect place for an evening of entertainment with regular jazz nights.
The beers on tap include one of my favorites, Adnams from Southwold in Suffolk which is close to where I grew up. Other brews include Old Hooky from the local Hook Norton Brewery, and Oxford Brewery’s Shotover Trinity. This is one of the nicest pubs in Oxford if you’re after a proper pint of ale.
The Rose and Crown Information
Address: 14 North Parade Avenue, OX2 6LXPhone: +44 (0)1865 510551Operating Hours: 11:30 am-11 pm, Mon-SunMust-Try Items: Adnams bitter, Hoptric American IPA, fish pieAverage Cost: £4-£5 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £9-£16 per mainWebsite: roseandcrownoxford.com
13. The Up In Arms
I rather like the witty name of this lively Oxford pub in the suburb of Headington, to the east of the city center. This is a great place to come for a bargain as they have deals on food and drinks every day of the week. From Burger Wednesday to Thirsty Thursdays, weekday lunches for just £6, and cheap pints daily, this is a top place for a night out.
There’s a well-stocked bar with rotating guest ales, craft beers from around the world, and a large selection of wines and cocktails to choose from. There’s a pleasant beer garden out the back just perfect for a cold pint on a hot day.
The Up In Arms Information
Address: 241 Marsten Road, Headington, OX3 0ENPhone: +44 (0)1865 246172Operating Hours: 12 pm-10 pm, Sun-Wed, 12 pm-11 pm, Thu-SatMust-Try Items: Punk IPA, gin fix, homemade burgersAverage Cost: £4-£5 per pint, £7 per cocktail, £11.25-£13.25 per mainWebsite: dodopubs.com
14. The Fir Tree
This Victorian pub dates back to 1866 and is one of the best pubs in Oxford to watch football and other sports. It offers live showings of major events on large TVs throughout the venue, so come here for the Champions League, Six Nations, and other sporting events washed down with plenty of good beer.
Pizza is served Monday to Friday from 6 pm to 9 pm and is a bargain at just £8/9 for a 14″. There’s always something going on at the Fir Tree from quiz nights to “wine Wednesdays” and lots of special offers for diners and drinkers up for grabs. The Fir Tree is rated as one of the top 10 pubs in Oxford on TripAdvisor, so you know you’ll be in for a good time.
The Fir Tree Information
Address: 163 Iffley Road, OX4 1EJPhone: +44 (0)1865 245290Operating Hours: 4 pm-11 pm, Mon-Thu, 4 pm-2 am, Fri-Sat, 4 pm-10 pm, SunMust-Try Items: Cask ale, local cider, El Nino pizzaAverage Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £9 per pizza
15. The Seven Stars
This is one of the best country pubs near Oxford and is well worth the six-mile (9.6 km) trip to the sleepy village of Marsh Baldon just outside the city. If you’re looking to enjoy a pint in gorgeous rural surroundings, The Seven Stars can’t be missed. With a great selection of real ales, local ciders, and food from local and seasonal produce, this is a must-visit when in Oxford.
I love nothing more than a couple of pints and a good meal in a countryside pub (I grew up in the country) and The Seven Stars ticks all the right boxes. The pub is also just a few minutes walk from Harcourt Arboretum, which is well worth a visit if you want to experience the best of the beautiful Oxford countryside.
The Seven Stars Information
Address: The Green, Marsh Baldon, OX44 9LPPhone: +44 (0)1865 343337Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Thu, 11 am-1 am, Fri-SatMust-Try Items: Cask ales, local cider, beer-battered fish and chipsAverage Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £9 per cocktail, £10-£15 per mainWebsite: sevenstarsmarshbaldon.co.uk
Oxford Pubs: FAQs
Here are some answers to popular questions about the best pubs in Oxford:
Some of the best pubs in Oxford include The Turf Tavern, The Bear Inn, The Eagle and Child, and The Trout. There are many amazing pubs across the city and this is just a small selection of the best.
You don’t tip in Oxford for drinks, unlike in the USA, however for a good meal a tip of 10% to 15% is customary.
The hip Jericho suburb has some of the best pubs in Oxford, including the lively Jericho Tavern which has an excellent beer garden and live music on weekends.
An average pint in Oxford costs a whopping £4.57 making it one of the most expensive places in the country for a pint outside London. But fear not, budget drinkers will be pleased to know they can grab a pint in The Four Candles for under £2.
Oxford is home to many famous pubs, and two of the most famous are The Bear Inn which is 780 years old, and The Eagle and Child which is where the writers C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used to drink.
The oldest pub in Oxford is The Bear Inn which dates back to 1242 making it over 780 years old. The Kings Arms is another of the oldest pubs in the city.
There isn’t a main bar street in Oxford. The city’s pubs can be found across the city center, around Jericho, and in all the different suburbs of the city.
Now you know about the best Oxford pubs for food, live music, atmosphere, and of course, the best pints of beer in town. Whether you want to walk in the footsteps of Tolkien at The Eagle and Child, sip cold pints on the riverbank at The Trout, or enjoy a pub lunch at The Angel and Greyhound, there’s a pub in Oxford waiting for you to wander into.