Guide to the Best Pubs in Oxford: A drinking hole for every occasion

It doesn’t matter if you are celebrating a friend’s birthday or simply letting loose at the weekend, the best pubs in Oxford are a good place to do both of those things.

There are a few comfortable pubs, vibrant bars and decent nightclubs in the city of Oxford. Although, the city isn’t widely known for its nightlife because many of the clubs don’t live up to the expectations of the public.

Many people find that it’s preferable to do a brief pub crawl, visiting multiple spots in and around the Oxford city centre, or spend most of the evening in one of the two Wetherspoon pubs located centrally. Cheap and cheerful, am I right?


Here is a list of some of the nicest and best pubs in Oxford, defined as the most desirable places to drink, snack and chat near the centre of Oxford for students, visitors, tourists and locals alike:

The Bear inn is one of the Best Pubs in Oxford and oldest
Ye Olde Pub: The Bear Inn is said to be Oxford’s oldest public house and nearly 800 years old.

Pubs with a bit of history

The Bear Inn

The Bear is a charming old pub on Alfred Street, near Carfax Tower, that has been serving since 1242. Their menu includes sandwiches, pies, burgers, fish and chips, plus more. For drinks, The Bear Inn has a variety of ales, wines, and spirits to offer. On Tuesdays, the pub hosts jazz nights with live jazz music, from 8pm to 11pm.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Every Wednesday from 8pm to 10pm, live cover acts perform for your enjoyment as you unwind with your food and drinks. Outside is a large garden, with seating areas and outdoor heaters that come in handy once the sun sets, and the cool breeze sweeps in.

Address: 6 Alfred St, Oxford OX1 4EH

Opening Hours:

Mon- 15:00 – 22:30
Tue- 12:00 – 23:00
Wed- 12:00 – 23:00
Thur- 12:00 – 23:00
Fri- 12:00 – 23:00
Sat- 12:00 – 23:00
Sun- 12:00 – 22:30

the kings arms oxford 1
The Kings Arms – an historic and popular Oxford pub

The King’s Arms

This pub is a popular hangout for many university students, due to its classy and cosy atmosphere and convenient location on Holywell Street near part of the university grounds and 2 minutes from the Bodleian Library. Much like The Bear Inn, it is one of the oldest pubs in Oxford, built in 1607, making it an attraction for tourists and history lovers.

If you fancy something to eat, this pub serves some hearty British dishes like pies and fish and chips, along with a range of homemade traditional snacks. The King’s Arms serves some award-winning beers and local brews that may outshine the variety of spirits and wines that are on offer.

This pub gives you the opportunity to escape the office and complete work in a warm environment. It has free Wi-Fi and an endless supply of coffee, tea, and snacks. Out front, there are several benches you can use to relax and soak up the sun after a long day.

Address: 40 Holywell St, Oxford OX1 3SP

Opening Hours:

Mon- 11:00 – 23:00
Tue- 11:00 – 23:00
Wed- 11:00 – 23:00
Thur- 11:00 – 23:00
Fri- 11:00 – 23:00
Sat- 11:00 – 23:00
Sun- 11:00 – 23:00

Turf Tavern
Turf Tavern is a lovely back street pub in the heart of academic Oxford complete with pub garden

Turf Tavern

Due to its history and notable guests, The Turf Tavern is one of the fairly well-known famous pubs in the UK. The foundations of Turf date back to 1381, as it once served as a malthouse. The collection of guests that have visited this lovely pub includes Steven Hawking, Bill Clinton, the cast of Harry Potter, and the list goes on.

This tavern is quite well hidden amongst New College and Hertford College, just opposite the Bodleian Library, making it one of Oxford’s hidden gems. The Turf Tavern consists of some oddly shaped rooms, narrow corridors, and two small bars. Outside is a sizable beer garden, perfect for some drinks on those lovely summer evenings.

It is dog-friendly and supplies WIFI for all those university students looking to quickly finish up their daily assignments. It’s definitely a pub to put on the list!

Address: 4 Bath Pl, Oxford OX1 3SU

Opening Hours:

Mon- 11:00 – 23:00
Tue- 11:00 – 23:00
Wed- 11:00 – 23:00
Thur- 11:00 – 23:00
Fri- 11:00 – 23:00
Sat- 11:00 – 23:00
Sun- 11:00 – 23:00

The Perch

The Perch merits a place on our list as the thatched 17th-century country inn despite being in Binsey we are counting it as it ticks all the boxes.

The freehouse has a great selections of beers, and is a great location to end a hike along the Thames or dog walk in Port meadow, plus the pub garden is a perfect spot for a Sunday roast on a sunny day.

Address: Binsey Lane, Binsey, Oxford OX2 0NG

Bottomless Brunch anyone?

All Bar One

For those wishing to indulge in some flavourful cocktails and tapas, this bar offers a clean and classy atmosphere for it. As you leisurely sip on your espresso martini, some chill pop will be playing in the background, setting the tone for a relaxed but fun evening.

For £32 per person, All Bar One offers a bottomless brunch menu, unavailable from 3pm, that allows you to consume as many Daiquiris, Aperol Spritzes or G&Ts as you please, for 1.5 hours. This package also includes bottles of prosecco that will be refreshed once empty. For an extra £10 per person, each individual will have access to a wider selection of drinks, including Porn Star Martinis, Espresso Martinis, and Long Island Iced Tea.

The bottomless brunch food menu offers a variety of dishes, from a full breakfast to a classic cheeseburger, available to each guest in attendance. All Bar One is relatively central in the city, located on the High Street, just next to The Ivy Oxford and close to the Radcliffe Camera.

Address: 124 High St, Oxford OX1 4DF

Opening Hours:

Mon- 10:00 – 23:00
Tues- 10:00 – 23:00
Wed- 10:00 – 23:00
Thur- 10:00 – 23:00
Fri- 10:00 – 00:00
Sat- 10:00 – 00:00
Sun- 10:00 – 22:00

oxford castle
Oxford Castle has many great historic pubs in close proximity for the tourist trail

The Slug & Lettuce

Located right next to Oxford’s fabulous historic castle, the Slug & Lettuce is a great place to unwind, listen to some good music, and sip on some tasty cocktails and craft beers. Equipped with some modern dining areas and a large balcony, this bar is a great place to visit, no matter what the occasion. It offers multiple drink packages, bottomless brunch, and cocktail-making classes.

The food menu lists meals ranging from jackfruit tacos to deluxe southern fried chicken burgers. The 2-hour bottomless brunch tends to be the main attraction, at £30 per person. The deal includes a wide variety of drinks, including prosecco, gin or vodka with mixer, Sex On The Beach, Woo Woo, Mimosa, Bloody Mary, Aperol Spritz, and pints of Amstel. You will also be given the option to upgrade to Porn Star Martinis for an extra £10 per person.

Throughout the year, Slug & Lettuce also hosts themed brunches, most recently announcing a Taylor Swift themed evening. Brunch is a fantastic way to start the evening, getting everybody on a good level. Though, if you don’t fancy a bottomless brunch, Slug & Lettuce is a great environment to simply sit and sip on whatever you fancy.

Address: 1 Oxford Castle, Oxford OX1 1AY

Opening Hours:

Mon- 12:00 – 23:00
Tues- 12:00 – 23:00
Wed- 12:00 – 23:00
Thur- 12:00 – 23:00
Fri- 12:00 – 02:00
Sat- 10:00 – 02:00
Sun- 10:00 – 23:00

Best Pubs in Oxford for Karaoke

The Mad Hatter

This interesting little speakeasy style cocktail bar is located slightly further out from the centre of Oxford, on Iffley Road. It has an extensive and enticing drinks menu, featuring some creative cocktails and creations. Tea Party Packages, including multiple bottles of wine, punchbowls, and prosecco, are available for larger parties. While you ponder the menu, you may end up distracted by the live entertainment on almost every night.

On Thursdays, you will have the opportunity to take part in some karaoke from 7pm until the early hours of the morning. The Mad Hatter now has two new private karaoke rooms that are available to book, with enough space to fit up to 15 people. You’ll have the chance to unleash your inner Beyonce. Prizes are available for the best singers. So, if you are looking for a weird but wonderful night, you should definitely give this place a visit.

Address: 43 Iffley Rd, Oxford OX4 1EA

Opening Hours:

Tue- 19:00 – 23:00
Wed- 09:00 – 00:00
Thur- 19:00 – 01:30
Fri- 19:00 – 02:00
Sat- 19:00 – 02:00

swan and castle
The Swan and Castle is one of two Weatherspoons pubs in Oxford city centre

Budget friendly: Weatherspoons in Oxford

The Swan & Castle Wetherspoons

Anyone heading for a night out in Oxford should stop by The Swan & Castle. It is common knowledge that Wetherspoon pubs are generally the cheapest, so this pub is perfect if you’re watching your wallet. They offer a great range of different drinks, meals, and snacks which can only be classified as affordable pub grub.

This Wetherspoon is a decent size with a bunch of different places to sit, both inside and out. This pub may get quite crowded on the weekends as it is a popular hangout for young adults and students. It is located directly opposite the Westgate, next to The Castle Tavern on Castle Street.

Address: Castle St, Oxford OX1 1AY

Opening Hours:

Mon- 08:00 – 00:00
Tues- 08:00 – 00:00
Wed- 08:00 – 00:00
Thur- 08:00 – 01:00
Fri- 08:00 – 01:00
Sat- 08:00 – 01:00
Sun- 08:00– 00:00

The Four Candles Wetherspoons

This is another Wetherspoon pub, located on George Street. This pub is smaller and tends to be slightly quieter than The Swan & Castle, though, it can still get rather busy at the weekend. Essentially, if there isn’t any space in the other Wetherspoons, most people will generally head over to The Four Candles. Opening hours are the same as the Swan & Castle’s, as shown above.

Address: 51, 53 George St, Oxford OX1 2BE

Irish Bars in Oxford


Not your traditional Irish pub necessarily (perhaps arguably more theme pubs), but the national bar chain call themselves the original Irish bar in Oxford. Located conveniently in the city centre, is a welcoming and warm place to get a few drinks during the evening and maybe even a bite to eat with classic pub food. On weekends, you will have the chance to listen to some lovely live music or maybe a stranger’s attempt at a bit of karaoke.

They offer a range of beers, spirits, wines, and cocktails to satisfy all preferences. If you’re having it large for someone’s birthday, hen do, or stag do, O’Neill’s gives you the option to book a big night out. They provide a variety of party packages: party cocktails, buckets, spirits, shots, and prosecco. O’Neill’s on George Street will add some good vibes to your night out.

Address: 37 George St, Oxford OX1 2AY

Opening Hours:

Mon- 09:00 – 23:00
Tues- 09:00 – 23:00
Wed- 09:00 – 23:00
Thur- 09:00 – 00:00
Fri- 09:00 – 01:00
Sat- 09:00 – 01:00
Sun- 10:30 – 23:00

The Half Moon 

If you want a more authentic Irish pub experience with some trad folk music, the low ceilings and wooden tables and selection of real ale may appeal here. It’s more old fashioned though, with no food on offer or TV’s, but live music nights are common.

17 St Clement’s St, Oxford OX4 1AB

The Black Swan

The Irish snug claim to have the best Guinness in Oxford, but with sport on TV including football, GAA and live Irish music it fits the bill. It also has a great outside space for summer.

Address: 11 Crown St, Oxford OX4 1QG

The best Oxford pubs will always vary based on needs, so we have tried to give a varied list to suit all needs. If you have a favourite alehouses, taverns and inns we’ve missed, let us know.