A couple of weeks ago, I berated The Tab for saying that Keble bar was the worst bar in Oxford. As I correctly stated, Keble bar is not the worst bar in Oxford. However, Mansfield bar definitely comes close. Walking in through a maze of fences, I see what looks like some kind of poolside country club patio. Unfortunately you can’t smoke in the entirety of Mansfield (which is approximately the size of a school football pitch anyway) and it was pissing down, so despite the fact that the courtyard could be quite pleasant if you could smoke in Mansfield, you can’t, this courtyard currently has no purpose.
Upon entering the building, I am shocked by how void of life this place is. The interior is bleak. Half hospital canteen-half airport waiting lounge, this bar has all the charisma and character of an abandoned nuclear bunker. The lighting is so poor that I’m unsure as to whether they updated it when they did up the rest of the bar. The space is vast but the way the couches have been set up right next to each other in almost military-esque lines means that the space is tiny and you can’t really chat. It’s also not particularly private and conversation is kind of minimal, especially since the low ceilings and huge space create the worst acoustics possible, meaning you will need to scream in your friend’s ear to be heard but still manage to overhear those obnoxious drunken postgrads on the other side of the room.
Apart from this the actual bar itself is tiny, with a poor selection of drinks. The official drink is just a WKD with Sprite and the bartender wasn’t particularly friendly. Service here seemed to be less “the customer is right” and more “scowl”. My pint was pulled alright, but the prices weren’t fantastic for either drink and it took so long to get a drink from this tiny tiny bar that I couldn’t be bothered to get another round.
Next to the bar were a whole variety of breakfast foods on display (who eats yoghurt in a bar?) but apparently no one eats breakfast in here. I don’t know why they’ve created a bar with this set up but it seems as though they managed to get the worst of both worlds, with the people who seemingly were trying to study being interrupted by the people at the bar who were a little put off by the people in their pyjamas who weren’t talking to anyone but seemed to be really interested in their Spotify accounts.
Honestly, the one possibly dubious claim to fame for Mansfield is the fact that this is the only bar I have ever been to which sells sauerkraut in jars. With no pool table, no darts, and no real form of entertainment, there is no real reason to come to this bar, and to be honest, if I could give this a minus star rating, I would. The Tab definitely needs to get around Oxford more because of all the bars in Oxford that I’ve been to, this is almost without a doubt the worst. I won’t be returning soon.