As an ex student from Oxford Brookes, Studying, going out and enjoying living on Cowley Road for four years, I now have a pretty good knowledge of where to go out for dinner/drinks in Oxford.
For a highly touristic city it is easy to get lost in the main-stream restaurant chains, which, to be honest are not always the best places to go.
Many of my friends/colleagues who haven’t visited the city before have asked me to suggest where the best places are to go, and I have therefore set out together three different suggestions below:
Kazbar and Cocos are part of the same restaurant group, really fun locations with great food.
Kazbar is a Spanish inspired restaurant with atmosphere to match, great tapas, tasty wine, friendly staff and once a week there are amazing flamenco dancers!! Ole!
These two restaurants are located next to each other on Cowley Road but only about a 10-15minute walk from the city centre.
The Cowley Retreat
Also located on Cowley Road.
A more student type pub/bar location.
I may be slightly bias to the place (as I used to work there), however I would still highly recommend the place for great cocktails, good pub food and really great staff!!
The Turf Tavern
One of the oldest pubs in Oxford.
A very cute, well hidden old pub, which you would only be able to find if you knew about it.
It is located down a small alley, close to the Bodleian Library, and has been frequently been visited by a number of famous faces including:
- former U.S. president Bill Clinton
- Richard Burton
- Elizabeth Taylor
- Tony Blair
- CS Lewis
- Stephen Hawking
- Margaret Thatcher
- The cast and crew of the Harry Potter movies while the nearby colleges were used as locations throughout the filming of the series
So basically, your likely to bump into some great people here!!
See picture below: The Turf Tavern is located down the alley you can see on the right hand side
This is located just outside of Oxford in a small village called Wolvercote.
It is a traditional pub right besides the River Thames.
It is always highly recommended by the locals and if you are looking for a more quiet evening out at a country pub in Oxfordshire then this would be the place to go!!
Varsity Rooftop bar (Drinks location)
Varsity Rooftop bar is a relatively new bar in the city centre.
For a city that does not have many tall buildings within the city it is the perfect place to go and chill out with the family and friends for a cup of coffee or an alcoholic beverage with a great view of what Oxford has to offer!
There are now doing table service on the rooftop, so the service has improved impeccably since it opened a couple of years ago.
Located just about a 5 minute walk from Oxford rail station, The Lighthouse is a lovely, and relatively well priced bar for amazing cocktails and Mediterranean styled tapas dishes.
If you are looking for an area to rent out for a birthday party, you can hire out The Boiler Room in The Lighthouse which is always bound to be great fun. The management there are sure to keep great care of you and give you amazing service. Highly recommended!!
You are in the perfect location between the station and the city centre to easily access other bars or clubs later on in the evening.
The Red Lion
I have been to The Red Lion a number of times. Good for lunch, dinner and drinks. Great for a nice day, they have a large outside space which is perfect when it is a sunny day.
The pub tends to be super busy on the weekends so if you are thinking of heading over for dinner and would recommend to book a table before hand.
House Bar is located down a small alley called Blue Boar Street in the city centre. Here you can find high class cocktails in a lovely setting. The place to go for cocktails!
As you can see in the photo below, we booked out the first floor for a work do and it was the perfect location to book out a private space for a large group of people!!
Castle Wine Bar 1855
Castle Wine Bar 1855 is located in the Oxford Castle, it is a lovely warm feeling bar with an eclectic selection of wines.
A really lovely place to go for a sophisticated glass/bottle of wine.
They do also serve food, but I am not too sure exactly of the extent of their menu as I have never eaten there but the food does look incredible!!
I ate at Gee’s restaurant with my family the afternoon I graduated from Oxford Brookes.
The restaurant is inside an iconic glass house, remains loyal to its traditions of providing quality food & service in the most beautiful restaurant in Oxford.
Their all day Mediterranean menu, simple and perfectly cooked food which is centred around the wood fire oven & charcoal grill.
It is open all day, everyday for morning coffee, weekend brunch, bite size morsels, fixed price lunch menu, dishes for sharing & Sunday roasts.
It is located slightly outside of the city centre and would definitely suggest to drive or grab a Taxi to get there but the food and atmosphere there is unbelievable.
Really lovely food and a great atmosphere!!
It is often fully booked so make sure you book your space early.
Branca is located in the lovely area of Jericho which is located close to the city centre of Oxford.
Vibrant Italian eatery with exposed bricks and a terrace serving small plates and stone-baked pizza.
One of my close friends used to work here whilst we studied at Oxford Brookes and I was therefore a frequent customer and got to know the lovely staff well, who are always welcoming and give great service to all customers!!
There is also a great selection of nice bars in a close proximity to Branca, making it easy to stay in the area after you have finished dinner and fancy trying somewhere else.
Those are my personal choices of where I think the best places to go in Oxford are.
Let me know if you have any other good ideas and I will be sure to go and check them out the next time I am there!!
Make sure you follow my blog for more blog posts like these.