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The Best Cocktail Bars In Oxford

August 20, 2018 by Tom Bronock

Whether you’ve just moved to the area or are staying the weekend, the beautiful town of Oxford is not only steeped in history but has become a sociable city with a vast array of eccentric and original bars to discover and explore. Oxford is a city that is renowned the world over as a stunning University town. A cultural hub for students, tourists and residents alike, it stands to reason that there are more bars to check out than you likely have time for.

The Cocktail Service have hand-picked the very best bars in Oxford, so you don’t have to. Discover more about Oxford’s buzzing cocktail bar scene below. Who better to guide you through the best kept secrets of the city than The Cocktail Service?

Raoul’s | Jericho

Standing in the Jericho district of Oxford since 1979, Raoul’s is a serious drinker’s den. Jericho has somewhat of a name for itself for its buzzing nightlife, and if you’re in town it’s definitely worth a visit. As an award-winning cocktail bar ranked in the Top 50 in the World by The Sunday Times, be sure to check out Raoul’s.
With a range of sophisticated cocktails for every occasion, the bar also has a resident DJ to really set the mood at the weekend. Set over two storeys, this cosy bar is guaranteed a buzzing atmosphere and is a great place to begin your night out in Oxford.

Highlights: Ever changing menu of imaginative drinks / Resident DJ / In the heart of Jericho.

If you want amazing drinks, in a laid-back trendy bar then head straight to Raoul’s. Check out Raoul’s

The Mad Hatter | Cowley Rd

The Mad Hatter is a secret speakeasy, tucked down an innocuous residential street just off the Cowley Road in trendy East Oxford. On arrival outside the venue, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you had taken a wrong turn. Don’t be deterred though, ring the doorbell and you will be asked to answer a riddle before being allowed entry.

Inside, the Mad Hatter is decked out with a 1920s vibe, with house DJs and cocktails in teapots. This is a late-night cocktail bar that takes its drinks as seriously as the clientele having a great time. For a quirky night out sure to be worth an Instagram post, this is one of the more original cocktail bars in Oxford!

Recommended: Want to make your cocktails glow on Instagram? Check out our Complete Guide to Making your Cocktails Instagrammable!

If that wasn’t enough, this bar also has a karaoke bar, where you can hire your own room; perfect for stag or hen parties, or just those looking for a memorable night out! You can even partake in a cocktail masterclass and learn how to do it yourself.

Highlights: Private karaoke bar / Speakeasy vibes/ Cocktail masterclasses available

With live music and entertainment, this bar was also a finalist in the Great British Pub Awards. Check out The Mad Hatter.

The Varsity Club | City Centre

This bar is arguably one of the most famous cocktail bars in Oxford. Boasting a magnificent view of the city of Oxford and beyond, take in the spires and city highlights from this rooftop bar. The Varsity Club plays great music, has an inventive cocktail menu and sharing boards if you feel a little peckish. In the summer, expect a beach club vibe, but whatever time of year you go, you’re bound to get a feel of the Oxford city life.

The Varsity Club is both a cocktail lounge and restaurant, serving coffee, classic food dishes and cocktails, too. Even if you don’t fancy the rooftop bar you can take it easy in the Moroccan-inspired lounge. With a dance floor to check out once the drinks are flowing, The Varsity Club is a great place to end your night.

Highlights: Rooftop bar & heated terrace / Food available / Dancefloor open until 3am

For the best views in Oxford there’s no other place. Check out The Varsity Club

The Duke Of Cambridge | Jericho

Mixing cocktails since 1981, this bar knows a thing or two about great drinks. A regular haunt for Oxford natives, this bar offers a taste of the high life with impressive ceilings and chandeliers bringing a touch of sophistication to every visit. The bartenders know their stuff too, so regardless of what your favourite tipple is, you’ll be able to enjoy it here.
This bar gets very busy on the weekends, but with over 30 years of serving cocktails, the bar is more than ready to cater for the numbers. There is an extensive back bar and happy hours throughout the week. The Duke of Cambridge happy hours run from 4pm – 9pm Sunday to Thursday, and 4pm – 7:30pm Friday and Saturday. The many years experience is what makes this bar stand out from the rest.

Expect perfection with every cocktail and a real sense of Oxford nightlife. This bar is tucked away on Little Clarendon Street, an ideal location for one of the most famous bars in Oxford.

Highlights: Years of cocktail making experience / Extensive cocktail menu with experienced bartenders / Guaranteed buzzing atmosphere

It’s a stalwart of the Oxford bar scene and you are always guaranteed a a great night here. Check out  The Duke Of Cambridge.

Kazbar | Cowley Rd

For an authentic night that brings with it a feel for all things Mediterranean, be sure to check out Kazbar. Located on Cowley Road, always known for its buzzing and lively atmosphere, Kazbar offers two nights in one with a range of tasty tapas to enjoy over a drink.

If you’re looking for a cosy getaway for a few hours, then Kazbar is for you. Reasonably priced, there’s a good vibe guaranteed any day of the week as you can always just pop in for some food. Their cocktails and food menu don’t compromise on flavour, and there’s a weekly happy hour, as if that wasn’t already enough!

Check out their blog for latest news and upcoming events including live music. If you’re looking for a bar in Oxford where you can forget day-to-day life, then Kazbar is perfect for a chilled, pleasant, on-brand atmosphere.

Highlights: Authentic Mediterranean experience/ Cosy / Delicious tapas

A bar like no other in Oxford, the design aesthetic is incredible. Check out the Kazbar.

Brush up on your knowledge while you’re here, check out The Cocktail Service’s Cocktail Hub. It’s full of cocktail ideas, recipes, and know-how about all things cocktail.

The Alchemist | Westgate

For a truly creative night out then head to the Alchemist. What gives this bar the reputation it has is the fact that they turn cocktail drinking into a spectacle and special event with every drink they serve. Expect flames, smoke, chemistry theatrics and razzmatazz if you decide to head to the Alchemist. With a great eye for detail, the bartenders are perfectionists, creating a masterpiece right before your eyes.

This would be a great place to start your night and really treat yourself. What’s more, its fantastic location makes it a great space to showcase everything Oxford has to offer; as it sits on the roof terrace of Westgate Shopping Centre you can feel right at the heart of things. Perfect for glamorous occasions and a touch of the whimsical, get whisked away for the evening at The Alchemist. One of the best bars in Oxford, not to miss? We think so.

Highlights: Great central location / Theatrical night out / Unique drinking experience

Cocktails to excite in Oxford’s coolest new bar and restaurant quarter. Check out The Alchemist.

Feeling inspired? You can do it yourself and bring the cocktails home with you! If this list is bamboozling you, then have the bar come to you, instead! We provide cocktail bar hire that delivers a full solution, from the bar itself to the drinks and the bartenders too. Tidy.

Café Tarifa | Cowley Road

For a warm atmosphere, a cosy escape, and delicious authentic dishes, head to Café Tarifa. With plenty of Moroccan vibes and a chilled, vibrant bar, while the night away here if you’re looking for something different. With Moroccan lamps hanging from trees, Café Tarifa doesn’t disappoint in décor. The outdoor space is bound to entice you in, canopies and trees bringing a taste of the Med to this cosy bar located on the Cowley Road.

Pop here for one, or several, and grab some food before you discover the bars the famous Cowley Road has to offer. Be warned though; once you get to Café Tarifa you may never want to leave.

Highlights: An authentic taste of the Med / Relaxed, warm and vibrant surroundings / Live music every Wednesday

Another Cowley Rd treat, this Morrocan style bar is buzzing in the summer. Check out: Cafe Tarifa.

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