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16 Of The Greatest Watering Holes In Oxford

From mojitos to milkshakes, we've got your back.

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1. Turf Tavern

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Blink and you’ll miss it; Oxford’s favourite garden pub is hidden down a secret passageway. The glorious Turf Tavern is all vintage bicycles leaning against the walls, bunting hanging from the eaves and a wide range of real ales. You may even see a "trashed" student – covered in glitter and whipped cream and wearing a bow tie. Wish them congratulations.

2. Angels Bar

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Looking for a more personalised drinking experience? Angels is a little slice of heaven in the Oxford cocktail circuit, with an extraordinarily vast drinks list. Not only are the drinks aesthetically beautiful (rose petals! lavender!), they are inventive and delicious. Bat your eyes at Chris behind the bar and you might just get your own bespoke beverage. Otherwise, the English Rose. Every time.

3. The Victoria

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The Victoria likes to keep things simple in its grand 19th century setting in the heart of trendy Jericho. It was opened in 2008 by the owners of Raoul’s cocktail bar down the road. This pub is heated by an open fire, with big comfy chairs and craft beers. There is no place cosier to enjoy a glass of red wine on a November evening.

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4. The Trout Inn

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The Trout Inn is the perfect end destination for a pub walk. The gastro-pub is located by Port Meadow and is less than an hour’s walk from the city centre. What better reason to get out of the city than to sit and watch the Thames flow past?

5. Frevd

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Frevd is a cocktail bar, located in a converted church built in the style of a temple. Fairy lights and suspended lanterns fall from the high ceilings onto the cold stone floor, which is regularly used to host swing and ballroom dance nights. And you will regularly find yourself dancing on an old church altar on a Tuesday evening.

6. THIRST

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If the steep prices at Frevd don’t tickle your fancy then maybe THIRST is more for you. This is potentially the grottiest bar in town, but you shouldn’t let the exterior (or interior) fool you. You’ll struggle to find such great cocktails and bargain prices elsewhere in Oxford, and it’s right across the street from the infamous sticky-floored student hang-out Lava Ignite. If you want a cheap place to pre-drink, this is it.

7. The King's Arms

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The King’s Arms is a student hotspot overlooking the famous Bodleian library and Radcliffe Camera. Get lost in the winding rooms and take part in one of the venue's regular poetry and open mic nights.

8. Moo-Moo's Milkshakes

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In a small corner of the covered market is Moo-Moo’s milkshake shack. Along with the café’s distinctive pink and white décor, the back wall is adorned with little cards where visitors can leave messages. This quirky little outlet sells fresh fruit smoothies and indulgent ice cream drinks, and is owned by a local couple.

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9. The Old Bookbinder's Ale House

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Nestled off Walton Street in the heart of Jericho is The Old Bookbinders Ale House, which has been around since 1869. It re-opened in 2011 as a family business and its relaxed atmosphere and six pump bar have made it a hit. Make sure you try their house bitter, the Bookies Best. They also play host to a crêpe café. Just sayin’.

10. The Bullingdon

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The Bully, AKA the Art Bar, is Oxford’s best independent music venue, located on the Cowley Road. Named after the infamous drinking society, it’s reared a whole host of home grown Oxford talent. They also do two-for-one cocktails everyday between 16:00 and 20:30. #winning

11. Coba Bubble Tea

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Even bubble tea buffs would be impressed by the wide offering at Coba Bubble Tea. The friendly staff will give you recommendations of which boba to put in your tea, which can be served hot or cold or however you like! The café has board games on the tables to make awkward first dates a thing of the past. They also make amazing waffles.

12. The Gardener's Arms

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Here's one for the veggies among us. The Gardener’s Arms is wholly dedicated to vegan and vegetarian meals, real ales, and music. The charismatic owners organise regular meet ups for Oxford steam punks, and you can check out the landlord’s vinyl collection hung on the walls. Amazingly, it's located in a place called Plantation Road.

13. The Varsity Club

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If you’re a rooftop drinker, Varsity is a must. After walking up the stairs in the covered market you come to Varisty’s chic outdoor terrace which overlooks Oxford's gorgeous dreaming spires. It’s a watering hole with a damn good view. The interior is also cool, if you can handle Union Jack cushions and Amy Winehouse pop art.

14. The Eagle and Child

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Back in the day, this was C.S Lewis’ and JRR Tolkein’s favourite meeting place. Imagine how much creativity you’d absorb just by drinking there!

15. The Rose and Crown

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There’s a mystical figure who nearly all Oxford residents claim to have seen at some point, but very few have caught on camera. His name is Thom Yorke. The Radiohead frontman is a Rose and Crown regular so if you’re on the lookout for this rock and roll legend this is the place to go. The Rose and Crown is tiny, so you can’t guarantee a table, but there is a large grape vine terrace at the back for the summer months. It’s located on the charming North Parade which is adorned with fairy lights and hosts a regular street market.

16. The Grand Café

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What’s the point in wasting your cash on booze when it could be spent on afternoon tea? The Grand Café was the first establishment in England to serve coffee. The café is fronted by a beautiful blue and gold gilded entrance and columns, and regularly has a queue of visitors coming out of the door. Warning: the scones are HUGE.

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