First a “Punk’s Not Dead” theme, now a real “Flogging a Dead Horse” effort to squeeze an eighth Oxford post out of one pub crawl.

Prize possession

But I like pouring over the lessons learned, even if it’s from barely 3% of Oxford’s pubs;

  1. Eight busy pubs, suggesting there’s plenty of life left in the traditional pub yet in prosperous cities like Oxford, despite the emergence of Brew Dog, Pint Shop and some keg bars.  They were busy on my last mid-week visit, too. 
  2. It is possible to find younger people enjoying pubs and not using their I-Phones.
  3. It requires some skilled pubmanship, as demonstrated by Mrs RM and Pub Curmudgeon, to secure a table in a busy pub, but sitting is infinitely preferable to standing in a pub.
  4. There’s plenty of life left in Boring Brown Bitter yet, with Pedigree, 6X and Palmers the pick of some good quality beer in Oxford.  If in doubt, drink what Paul Mudge is drinking.
  5. The cask beer range in Oxford hasn’t changed that much in 25 years, but you do see keg in the more unlikely of places, such as the new Hook Norton place.
  6. If in doubt, go for Siren.
  7. Beer & Pubs Forum folk are capable of organising a good pub crawl and avoiding difficult political chat.  Next test of that in Wolves on April 4th..
  8. Despite not seeing a single pub cat*, Pub Curmudgeon is capable of looking quite contented (see top).
  9. I really want a Sam Smiths pub in Cambridge.


*though there was a lovely pair of Blue Staffies in the Turf, now Mudgie reminds me.



  1. I’ve made this point before elsewhere, but the Three Goat’s Heads charges Sam’s “Southern” prices, which are typically £1 a pint more than those in the north. This means that, while still relatively cheap, Sam’s aren’t the stonking bargain they are oop North, and therefore don’t attract the same distinctively down-to-earth clientele (says he diplomatically). I’d guess Spoons undercut Sam’s in Oxford, which they don’t in’t’North.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The ‘Spoons at Cowley, some three miles from the city centre, has recently been reprieved from closure and has cut its ale prices to celebrate. Ruddles at £1.79, and all other guest ales at £1.99. The “Ferryman’s Gold” (4.4%) from Lodden tasted good today at £1.99 per pint, which is an amazing price for anywhere in the South-East.

    The two city centre branches are in the £2.60 and upwards price range for guests.

    Sams OBB £3.00 in the “Three Goats Heads” as at 2.00pm today. Was £2.00 in Manchester last week.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Martin,
        Recently I’ve been paying £3.20 in their London pubs which suggests either that Humphrey decided £4 was too steep or that he thought Londoners should pay a 20p surcharge towards the Congestion Charge paid by his drays, no, shire horses are exempt aren’t they ?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Given that a round of two halves of OBB, one of Extra Stout and one of India Ale came to £6.95 in the Three Goats’ Heads, I’d guess that the OBB was £3.20 in there too. Underlines my point about it not being the stonking bargain it is in Stockport or Leeds.


      3. Don’t know about that London, but our local Sam’s pubs have banned contactless entirely and have a £20 minimum spent on card payments.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Observations of a series of great posts…city centre pubs will continue to thrive and survive I reckon it is estate and roadside boozers more at risk…BBB is still a very good drink when kept well so hopefully enough people agree…glad to see that pub people can organise a piss up in a brewery so to speak 😀 post Brexit politics is almost off the menu for me as you aren’t allowed to be middle ground anymore… wolves is always a test! Finally. A fantastic Pistols album thrown in for good measure 👍🍺👏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “If in doubt, drink what Paul Mudge is drinking.”

    Can I do that, even from over here? Say, shoot him a text to ask, even though with the time zone difference it would be 3am there? 😉

    “*though there was a lovely pair of Blue Staffies in the Turf, now Mudgie reminds me.”

    Not going to touch that with a ten foot pole!” 🙂


    PS – “even it from barely 3% ”

    I think that should either be ‘if’ for ‘it’ or “even if it’s from barely 3%” work better?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Really an interesting series of blogs on Oxford. You and Mudgie both seem lukewarm on Oxford as a pub town, but both posts paint a very favorable picture of your visit there. The information made me quite eager to visit some of these pubs. On a side note, this comment “I assured Tim I knew the way to the Turf, but of course I didn’t really” came across really funny after rereading your older post on Oxford. “I never have found the Turf Tavern” you mentioned on the November 15, 2016 post. A really close reader would never have trusted your bold claim! I had a lot of fun reading these posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh grief, did I really say that in 2015 ? I though it was easy but to be honest you’d have to know it was down an alley. Mrs RM came across it a different route, seemingly.

      Perceptive point that I (and perhaps PC) didn’t expect too much. I might do a Top 10 of pub towns posts. Oxford wouldn’t be in it, but this was good. I wonder if a visit on a Wednesday night would have been different.


    2. Oh no, I’m certainly not lukewarm. On my blog I say “It sounded right up my street, with a great selection of characterful pubs full of historical and literary associations,” Plus we only put our noses inside the door of the Eagle & Child, and did not visit at all two other well-known historic pubs, the Bear and White Horse.

      Maybe not such an essential beer destination – like many other places, it suffers from the erosion of local distinctiveness in beer choice, and most of the beer selections could equally have been found in towns fifty miles away. The only genuinely local beer I had all day was the Hook Norton.

      I blogged about the best places for pub crawls here. For me, York would definitely be #1, but Oxford I think would easily get into the top 20. Unlike Leicester 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sensed Dave was suggesting we’d have been a bit lukewarm beforehand (I’d been a bit sniffy), but Oxford sort of won us over. Agree re: Leicester.

        Genuinely intrigued how Northampton might weigh up; think it will depend whether we’re prepared to make a trip outside the centre. There’s a couple of corkers to the east.


      2. I may have overstated on your opinion. I was picking up on this idea: “not such an essential beer destination”. I just thought the pubs, and I am more interested in pubs than beer, looked really great. Odd you mention York because I thought a lot of these pubs would not be out of place in York. I agree York is an outstanding pub town.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If there’s one lesson I learnt about Oxford it’s that it deserves two days.
        Birmingham, Crewe, Leicester, Macclesfield and maybe Stockport can be properly done in one day but not Oxford and, yes, we missed the Bear and White Horse and the Arkells pubs too/two.
        I had two days away but was on the Hook Norton in Banbury for one of them.
        My wife had suggested I go for two nights. That’s another lesson, to listen to her more often !

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think the Headington one has an official pub cat too 🙂
        *most* of the pubs in the centre of Oxford are pretty dog friendly which may explain the lack of pub cats

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The photos really made the pubs look nice and the beers sounded great to me. The people seemed a bit different than some of the people you run into in some other places, but they looked like they were really enjoying the pubs. I would correct the one commentator in her reference to Robert Plant. On this blog we have the Outlaw’s permission to call him Bob. Bob Plant to us. And I am guessing you did not run into the Outlaw on this pub crawl…

    Liked by 1 person

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