Image description: the Royal Blenheim, a pub in Oxford
With my new found authority as a finalist and a long standing love of pubs, I felt that the start of my third year was an appropriate time to impart my carefully-curated-pub-related wisdom. So if your fresher’s flu is on the mend but you can’t quite hack Atik, or you’re simply looking for some procrastination destinations, here’s a list of the best pubs in Oxford.
Best pub for a cheap pint: The Crown
Undoubtedly the most important category (as is reflected by its position on the list), I must confess the answer may be disappointing.
It’s been a struggle to overcome the dramatic hike in pint prices that comes with driving 90 minutes south, and I regret to inform you that I am yet to find a cheap pint in any place other than Spoons (which for aesthetic purposes has been omitted from this list). However, I’m a huge fan of The Crown (great drinks selection, central location, and supposedly a pitstop for Shakespeare and his crew back in the day) and their 20% student discount on Thursday evenings ought to be common knowledge.
Best pub for a date: Head of the River
The clue is in the name, Head of the River is so pretty and also happens to be one of the few riverside pubs in Oxford that isn’t a TREK away (assuming you’re living in the centre).
This is one of my absolute favourites, although it is probably better to go in summer to get the full effect. It’s a great choice for a date (drinks or dinner – it does it all).
Best pub for a Sunday roast (with your parents paying): The Trout Inn
Another old riverside pub (I have a type…): The Trout Inn. It is a bit out of the way and on the pricier side, but the food is so good that it’s been written about by Lewis Carroll and Philip Pullman. If that’s not enough to convince you to try it I’m not sure what is…
Best pub for pizza: The Rusty Bicycle
A niche category, I’ll admit, but there’s a lot of hype around The White Rabbit pizzas and I felt it needed to be addressed. Don’t get me wrong I think The White Rabbit is certainly worth a visit, but The Rusty Bicycle has way more character (in my humble opinion). It’s cosy and colourful and has rogue beers that are actually nice. Plus they sometimes do 50% off pizzas at lunchtime (thank. me. later.).
Best pub for a cosy night out (aka my current favourite): The Bear Inn
Disclaimer: there are at least 10 other pubs I can think of that could fill this category but The Bear currently takes the top spot. It’s great all year round, just as nice outside as it is in, and it’s also one of the oldest pubs in Oxford – what’s not to like?