Legendary Oxford Pub Crawl (Night Route)

Readers from the previous feature will now know the Oxford circuit: an indelible monument to stress and boredom that forces generations of Oxford students to master the art of essay writing in crowded pubs.

Executed correctly, the Oxford Circuit’s one-day itinerary will leave attendees savoring their pints under the twilight skies of Port Meadow. From there, the sensitive souls will return home to sleep after the effort of the day. The rest will continue the legendary wonders of the night road.

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Related: Legendary Oxford Pub Crawl (One-Day Itinerary)

Stop 1. Raoul’s Bar & Liquor Store

Stroll Walton Street, through Jericho’s signature idiosyncratic blend of bohemian and bourgeois aesthetics. Beyond its stylish cocktail bars, vintage record stores and arthouse cinemas, this neighborhood is famous for its literary associations: it is said to have inspired Beer Sheva in Thomas Hardy’s 1895 classic, Dark Judewhile its quays sheltered the residents gypsies by Phillip Pullman Its dark materials trilogy.

Relax in one of Jericho’s classiest bars, where beer and wine are reasonably priced. As for the specialty cocktails, what they lack in affordability, they make up for in production value. This, above all, explains Raoul’s signature clientele: free-spirited, somewhat posh thirtysomethings who share the view that any amount on a drink can be money well spent, provided the drink is on fire for at least part of the time.

Raoul’s was recently closed due to a lack of staff. For an alternative, try Dark Jude, named after the Jericho-based novel.

Stop 2. Chez Mal Brasserie & Bar

Follow Walton Street which becomes Worcester Street, then turn onto New Road and continue until you find yourself in the shadow of Oxford Castle and Gaol: a menacing relic of Saxon stonework.

At Oxford Castle Corner, dive into Chez Mal. Located in the old prison of Oxford, this relaxed establishment offers a wide selection of beers, wines and cocktails, as well as an excellent à la carte menu featuring a mix of French and British cuisine.

No known Oxford circuit enthusiast has (yet) linked the castle to their daytime route. Still, it’s well worth returning during opening hours for a visit, when you can climb its 101 steps for sweeping views of Oxford city centre.

Stop 3. The sheaf of wheat

Continue along the High Street, which remains one of Oxford’s busiest roads long after the sun goes down.

Slip down the dark alley, through a pair of weather-beaten doors and into The Wheatsheaf, a gem among all Oxford gems.

A younger cousin to London’s Marquee and Boston’s Rathskeller, despite its relatively recent founding year (1999), Wheatsheaf retains all the stripped-down shine of a classic punk rock venue. Intimate, cacophonous and wonderfully quirky, Wheatsheaf’s live music nights are some of the best the city has to offer. Out of all the others, his jukebox is prominent, open to all and packed with rock, punk and alternative classics.

Related:Camden Town in London for Punk Rock, Gothic and Alt

While on the High Street, any Oxford Circuit undertakers who have opted out of the daytime route should make their way to the nearby Varsity Club, which has one of the best views in the entire city, day and night.

Stop 4. Sandy’s Piano and Wine Bar

Turn onto King Edward Street from the High Street and enter the always excellent Sandy’s.

In addition to its elegant candlelit floor, the ground floor of Sandy’s is one of the best open mic venues in town. Unfailingly welcoming to professional and amateur musicians, Sandy’s is one of the best places in Oxford to enjoy great cocktails and impeccable sounds.

Stop 5. Cape of Good Hope

After reaching the High Street, cross the Pont de la Madeleine and continue to the roundabout.

You are now in Cowley: Oxford’s busiest and best-known suburb. With its vibrancy, diversity and relative lack of austere brickwork, Cowley is, in many ways, a town unto itself. Long after all the pubs in central Oxford have closed, Cowley’s nightlife continues, often well into the morning.

At the roundabout, stop for a moment at the Cape of Good Hope: a popular local pub that serves as something of an informal terminus between Oxford city center and the suburb of Cowley.

Stop 6. The Library

Continue on Cowley Road and enter the Library, one of Oxford’s trendiest pubs.

Here, an extensive selection of beers, wines and whiskeys is complemented by an eclectic and welcoming vibe, a beautiful beer garden (with fire pit) and an unbeatable proximity to the O2, one of the best nightclubs in town. .

Stop 7. James Street Tavern

Return to Cowley Road before turning onto James Street. Among the attractive and slightly dilapidated row of old Victorians before you, spot the James Street Tavern by its sign.

Enjoy the informal yet effortlessly refined atmosphere — surprisingly tranquil despite being a stone’s throw away from one of the city’s busiest streets — as well as its elegant outdoor patio and brilliant live music events.

Stop 8. The Mad Hatter

Take James Street to Iffley Road, then walk through the looking glass and enter a world that’s part speakeasy, part tea house, part wonderland.

Named and themed for the work of Oxford University alumnus Lewis CarrollThe Mad Hatter has become hugely popular with locals for its karaoke nights, surreal, edgy decor and immensely creative cocktails, which you can and should order via the landline phone attached to your table.

Stop 9. Half-moon

Continue on Iffley Road until it meets the now familiar roundabout, then stop at Half Moon: a traditional, pay-only Irish pub with live music and a wonderful crowd of regulars.

Beloved by locals for its late hours, great prices and vibrant authenticity, Half Moon is hands down the best place in Oxford to drink until dawn while listening to a mix of local chatter and Irish jigs.

Stop 10 (OPTIONAL). Hi-Lo Jamaican Dining House

Although under-hyped, Oxford’s nightlife involves an inescapable Achilles’ heel: virtually every pub in the city, even in Cowley, closes at 2am. The only exception, sometimes, is Hi-Lo.

What or when, exactly, does “sometimes” imply? It’s hard to say. Hi-Lo has no website, no Instagram and no Twitter. His Facebook page (last active in the fall of 2021, when he shared an online petition to cut Australia’s carbon emissions, a delightful anti-Brexit meme with no caption and no info on his opening hours) happily states the place open “until late”. ”


In other words, Google Maps Unknown hours the list is appropriate, in this case. There are really no hours to know here. The Hi-Lo doesn’t close late or early, but precisely when it means. Between that and the fact that many of his best articles (especially jerk chicken!) are off the menu, stepping into Hi-Lo can feel less like stepping into a restaurant than stepping into a stranger’s living room by mistake.

For an Oxford Circuit fan, Hi-Lo is the best (and only) place to pull off some Red Stripes, listen to a great mix of reggae, trance and ska, and feel good about your picks after 2 a.m. in the morning. . Provided, of course, that you are lucky enough to find the place open and below capacity…

Best of all, a really good night in Hi-Lo can start to end as late (well, early) as 5:00 a.m. This is the perfect time during the summer months to return to central Oxford across the Magdalen Bridge at sunrise.

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