So you’ve just started at Oxford University and you want to know the best cafes, bars, pubs, and restaurants. Don’t worry, we have provided you with a list of our top 10 choices to eat and drink in the city. Let us know what you think!
The Trout Inn
Fancy country pub located just a few minutes walk from the city centre, in Oxford’s Port Meadow. Tables and chairs in the pub garden offer excellent views of the river, countryside and the pub’s beautiful stone building. If you’re lucky you might see some of the roaming peacock families! Step inside where you will be greeted by comfy sofas and a roaring fireplace. Their seasonally inspired menu includes premium gastropub dishes, such as Prime Steak cuts from selected British and Irish farms, Four-Bone Lamb Rack with chorizo, butternut squash and dauphinoise potatoes or their sensational Dirty Cheeseburger. If this sounds a little too meat-heavy for you don’t worry, because they also provide an excellent vegan menu as well.
The Grand Cafe
You absolutely must visit the historic Grand Cafe. It is situated on the site of the first coffee house in England and is the place to go if you want a high tea. They serve a delicious platter of scones with cream and jam, finger sandwiches, petit fours and a pot of tea. Or, you can go all out and treat yourself to a salted caramel eclair and an espresso martini.
The Covered Market
A historic market with permanent stalls and shops in a large covered structure in the centre of the city. There are over 50 traders selling fresh produce, gifts, flowers and jewellery, and provides a unique showcase for the very best in local crafts, food and drink. Most of the businesses are independent and we have chosen our favourite ones for you to try out.
Alpha Bar provides gourmet salads and sandwiches at affordable prices with great vegan and vegetarian options. They focus on selling ethically produced products and has a ‘no waste’ policy, so not only is it an excellent place to grab something healthy to eat, but you can do it in good conscience too.
Cardews of Oxford, in the far corner of the city, is the oldest recognised provider of fine tea and freshly roasted coffee in the city. You will find the cafe packed with coffee enthusiasts, so if you want to get a proper coffee, this is an excellent place to go.
The Gloucester Green Market
Similar to the Covered Market, there are a variety of different food and non-food stalls throughout the market. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are the best days for street food, however, you will find an excellent selection no matter what day you go on. Our top three include: The Souvlaki Brothers (Greek cuisine), Wot The Duck (duck burgers) and Taste Tibet (Tibetian cuisine). Be sure to check out at least one of these when you visit the Gloucester Green Market!
Angels Cocktail Bar
Angels is known to be one of the best cocktail bars in the city. Their professional bartenders have a vast knowledge of mixology and take pride in creating drinks tailored to your taste. You have the option of picking from the menu or to try out the Angels Lab Cocktails, which are filled with weird and wonderful concoctions created by their own bartenders. Happy hour is everyday from 4.30-9.30 so make sure you head down there for your cocktail fix.
The Duke of Cambridge
A classy and elegant cocktail bar, perfect for a more high-end evening out with friends or on a date. The interior is gorgeous, with huge chandeliers, dark wood and plush sofas to sink into after a long day. Cocktails range from classic favourites, to Martinis with a twist. Whatever you desire, The Duke of Cambridge is bound to have something to suit your taste. Additionally, they offer a generous happy hour, seven days a week, making it perfect for students.
The Jam Factory
Located in an old jam factory, the venue is now dedicated to a restaurant, bar and art gallery. The bar offers an extensive drinks menu from craft beers, real ales and a variety of wines. This unusual setting is far from tourists, making it an excellent place to relax. Additionally, The Jam Factory serves free-range, well sourced produce, all cooked to order. They also have plenty of choice for vegans and vegetarians as well.
The Varsity Club
A 4-level venue including a cocktail lounge and nightclub, plus a rooftop lounge with views over the city. We recommend going up in the evening to watch the sunset. In the summer TVC rooftop bar is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or Pimms, however, during the winter there are several areas inside including a Moroccan themed bar. TVC is great for eating, drinking, relaxing and partying.
The Missing Bean
This is the place to go if you are in need of a really good brew. The Missing Bean is an independent espresso bar, inspired by the coffee shops in Sydney, Australia. They choose the best coffee beans from around the world, and roast them in their own micro roaster in Oxford. If you love their coffee as much as we do, you can buy their beans either instore or online.
An independent grill and restaurant based in the heart of Oxford. Their quality meat is sourced from Master Butcher Aubrey Allen (By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen) where the finest meat is free-range and ethically selected and bred. Furthermore, their steaks originate from grass-fed native beef breeds and are 28 day dry-aged providing a tender and unique flavour. Their menus also include a selection of delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options with homemade desserts. If you are in the Jericho area of Oxford be sure to check out the Jericho Grill.