You should not fall into the trap of thinking drinking is an essential part of university life; however, for many of you it will be a large part of life. Anybody who knows me will know that for me it was a very large part of my first year at Oxford, and often was a bigger part of my life than work (I would not recommend that). As clubs reopen, make sure you get the right balance of work and going out. Many students fall into the trap of working very hard as well as going out and drinking lots, at the expense of their welfare, health, and sleep. So just make sure you are doing things sensibly, but by all means do enjoy.Here are a few pub suggestions.
The Kings Arms:
Located at the end of Broad Street, this pub will make you feel the old world Oxford pub aesthetic as much as anywhere else. Rumour has it that Shakspeare spent the night here, and it does claim to be the oldest pub in Oxford. Always worth a visit and does a very good burger, but it is a bit pricey and can attract a fair few tourists.
The Turf Tavern
If you want an old school pub hidden in an alley, with wooden bars, and to feel as though you have gone back to the 13th century then this is the pub for you. A must-visit for an Oxford student, though the first time you go, take someone who has been there before or else Google Maps will have you walking around the city centre for hours to find a little hidden alley. This does have the added benefit that the Turf Tavern mostly serves students and locals. Whilst as expensive as the Kings Arms, it is much more a student scene.
Chequers is the middle ground between The Turf Tavern and the Kings Arms. It is harder to find than the Kings Arms but much easier to get to than The Turf Tavern. It is as pricey as both. It is more touristy than The Turf Tavern but is less so than the Kings Arms. It again has that old-world atmosphere which makes all these pubs so lovely.
The White Horse
A small, very Oxford pub, it sits right underneath Blackwell’s bookshop. The Entrance to the bookshop sits on one side of the bup, and as you walk around and leave the pub you walk over the White Horse and leave the bookshop on the other side of the pub. A sitting area outside is perfect for any sunny day, and it is a great place to have a drink after coming back from a tute or lecture.
The White Rabbit
Not somewhere I would go for just a drink, but if you fancy going for a beverage and a pizza there is no better place. I would always suggest booking for the White Rabbit, but if you can get yourself a table outside with the heated radiators under the seat then your day will be lived in bliss.
There are two Spoons in Oxford, and for those of you who like going to the pub these places will become your favourites. This is for one very simple reason: they are cheap. If you drink ale, you can buy ten/eleven pints in the Four Candles (the Wetherspoons on George Street) for the same price as four pints in the Kings Arms. You will find yourself starting your night at another pub but eventually migrating to one of the two spoons.
The Lamb and Flag and The Eagle and Child
These two pubs are currently out of use sadly. They sit on opposite sides of St Giles, both again with that old-world aesthetic which so many places in the city offer. The Lamb and Flag was also the favourite watering hole of the Inklings. including both Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. We all look forward to these pubs returning soon, and when they do reopen I suggest that you go and enjoy them.
Other pubs worth trying are: The Bear Inn; The Head of The River; Wig and Pen; Cow and Creek; The Angel and Greyhound; The Red Lion; The Jericho Tavern; and the James Street Tavern.
There is a divide between those in Oxford who prefer Hassans or Ahmeds. I will tell you this: they are all as good as each other, and at 3AM when you are walking back from a night out, you won’t care about anything other than which one is on your way and closest. Hassans is by Waterstones and opposite a very good calzone place, while Ahmeds is on the High Street; McCoys is opposite Christ Church Tom Tower.
Jim Linwood via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)