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Drink the bar dry: Worcester, St Hugh’s, Sommerville

Beginning our evening in Worcester, we thought we’d reached bar Mecca. We were greeted by a beautiful patio area; absolutely perfect for a quiet drink on a summer’s evening. Once inside the bar continues to impress. Though subterranean, its high vaulted ceilings and good lighting make it feel warm and inviting. Always busy, the ambience in Worcester is great, and with the whole place decked out in college paraphernalia we could see exactly why one resident described it as having “a communal atmosphere that lends itself to debauchery”. However, let outsiders beware. We found the barman, Tony, to be a good contender for Oxford’s most irascible man. Put simply: be here with friends from Worcester, otherwise you’ll struggle to get served at all.

Given it’s distance from all civilisation, Hugh’s was going to have to be outstanding to justify our long walk up the Woodstock Road. The bar itself is absolutely huge, very modern looking and has plenty of comfy couches. We were also impressed by the bargain prices (£1.55 for a Carlsberg). Still, there’s nothing extra special on offer behind the bar. That said, the pear cider is worth a try. Sadly the place is so big that it struggles to ever seem busy. So is it worth the trek north? Probably only if you fancy the exercise…

Most college bars are pretty similar to look at, but in it’s own crazy way, Somerville really stands out. Decked out in a bright red with black and white murals of the seven deadly sins on the wall, the décor is striking to say the least. If you can drag your eyes away from all this, there’s the fun of free table football, and a TV next door on which to watch the real stuff. Somerville is also home to it’s very own cocktail, the ‘stone cold Jane Austen’ – a sickly sweet mix of cider, southern comfort and wkd, with a name almost as bizarre as the place itself.

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