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The Cock & Camel (Oxford)

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1 Review

24-26 George Street,
Oxford
OX1 2AE
Tel: 01865 203705

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      29.11.2001 17:20
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      The Cock & Camel in Oxford is something of a Jekyll & Hyde pub. By day it is a lively pub serving good food and a range of beers. It's a good place to sit on a sofa and read a newspaper whilst you watch the tourists walk by or to meet up with friends for a chat. By night it turns into an exciting bar serving cocktails and with a downstairs "alternative bar" playing good music to dance to. Until about 1997, the building which the Cock & Camel occupies was one of those really handy "everything's a £" shops called, I think, "Rollers". Then Young's brewery acquired the site and transformed it into a pub. The decor is in the "Hogshead" or "Firkin" mould - stripped wood fllors, mismatched chairs and large wooden tables - and the addition of huge floor to ceiling picture windows on two sides gives the pub quite a light and airy feel during the daytime. At night it gets very busy, but the bar is quite large and the staff are always fantastic so you don't usually have to wait too long to get served - a bonus in Oxford. They have a good line in cocktails in the evenings and they occasionally have live music in the "Blue Bar" downstairs. I've been in on Friday & Saturday nights and it's always a great place to meet up with friends. It probably suffers from what my dad would call "yuppisation", if you like your pubs quiet, smoky, with an open fire and an old man and his dog drinking stout in a corner then don't go here. However if you like pleasant surroundings, a lively atmosphere and cocktails then this is the place. They even occasionally have live bands. The beer includes Youngs cask conditioned ales, which satisfies even my dad, the world's worst "real ale" snob. A pint will set you back around £2.50 - which is pretty good for Oxford, shots are about £1.70 and a glass of wine will be around £2 - £2.50. The wine list is varied a
      nd something taken pretty seriously, there are usually about 20 different wines to choose from, from Australian Chardonnay to Laurent Perrier! In fact the name of the pub is taken from the name of a wine company, Cockburn & Campbell, which is owned by Youngs. The food is fairly inexpensive and there's always something slightly different on the menu - warm goats cheese salad last time I was there. My other half had the home made burger (about £7) and only just managed to finish the mountain of chips which accompanied the huge burger complete with "all the trimmings" (salad, cheese, chili, relish etc). I had mushroom stroganoff (about £5) which was gorgeous - and again a very large serving on a massive plate. Food is served from 12 till 8, except on Friday and Saturday when they stop serving at 6pm. If you don't like the atmosphere of the upstairs bar, go to the back of the pub where you'll find the stairs which lead down not only to the toilets but to the Blue Bar (supposedly named for the university sports "Oxford Blues") In the evenings this has quite a good feel to it. As well as being a great pub, The Cock & Camel also offers hotel accomodation upstairs. They have 8 en-suite, air-conditioned rooms at £79/night for a single and £89/night for a twin or a double, that's B&B with a full English breakfast. I've never seen the rooms so I can't vouch for how good they are but as the pub is right in the centre of Oxford I'd imagine they're pretty popular. The pub is situated on the corner of George Street at the entrance to Gloucester Green, opposite Old Orleans. George Street has undergone something of a renaissance in the last year, the top of the street is now pedestrianised and a huge number of bars & restaurants have opened up along the road, so it's a great place to start a pub crawl. For an evening out it's perfect, a film at the cinema (also in George Street), followe
      d by a meal at one of the many restaurants and then a drink all available in a 100 yard radius! So, if you find yourself in Oxford, day or night, go find the Cock & Camel - you might even see me in there!

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