Having made the Herculean hike, you’ll wonder why you left the comfort of your cosy Christ Church room overlooking Tom Quad. On entering the college, you feel so much like you have just intruded into a girls’ boarding school that you half-expect a matron to come out with a bag of laundry and tell you off for being late to bed.
You then have the ordeal of navigating yourself through the labyrinth of corridors. Taking multiple wrong turns along the dimly-lit forbidden passages of LMH, trying to avoid the housemistress, you eventually find signs leading you to the bar.
Once there, your suspicions will be confirmed and you’ll realize it really wasn’t worth the trek from the nicer end of Oxford. The powder-blue walls have an odd staff-room aesthetic, in keeping with the college’s boarding school vibe, and, true to form, it is absolutely freezing.
The artwork on the walls is terrible, and the mismatched armchairs clash offensively with the feeble rowing paraphernalia that litter the walls. The football table, a small mercy, is shoved in the corner, and there are a number of shady alcoves, which, depressingly empty, are akin to a 1950s high-class strip club.
The bar selection, pleasingly, is better than the draughty location and drab décor would lead you to believe. They have an average range of ciders and beers on tap, but the huge beer towers reminiscent of Oktoberfest are their best asset. Their tonic water is also top-notch, but sadly is wasted on a lukewarm G&T without ice or lime. I came on a Tuesday night and it was surprisingly busy. Perhaps they’ve somehow managed to capitalize on the fact that it’s a good 20-minute walk to any other watering hole.
There’s no college drink, which is ordinarily the benchmark of any good bar, although apparently there was one which was banned because it was too lethal for the delicate constitutions of the LMH-ers to hack. To add insult to injury, you can’t even pay for your mid-priced booze by card, so have to turn up with cash. Luckily, LMH has on-site cashpoints, another sign of its insularity. The atmosphere is that of a sports bar, although the silent football match playing on the plasma TV was largely being ignored.
Overall, the bar’s winning feature (apart from the beer towers) is the friendly student staff who run it, but it’s not really worth a trip unless you find yourself in that neck of the woods anyway, and why would you?