Whilst on a weekend break to Oxford, I arranged to meet some friends for lunch in the Turf Tavern. As former students who studied at Oxford, they recommended this pub as a good place for Sunday lunch. It does an extensive range of real ales for those so inclined and apparently won the title of the 'Nation's Perfect Pub' in 2007. The pub is situated in Bath Place and is not easy to find. Bath Place actually comes off Holywell St, but I found it by following the signs down an alleyway next to the Bridge of Sighs on New College Lane, not quite opposite the Bodleian Library complex.
The pub is an old fashioned, 13th Century pub, with low ceilings and small bar areas. There is a large courtyard area outside if the weather is suitably obliging, but I do believe part of it is covered. As there were quite a number of us, some were inside and some outside. Due to the pubs obvious popularity there were quite a few people at the bar. At the small bar I went to we had formed an orderly queue so we could all get served in turn. One of the bar staff was annoyed at this and yelled at us that we were not at a bus stop, and should just move around the bar. That is all well and good but then people approached the bar and were served before those who had been waiting. This then annoys the customers, and I saw some leave. The bar area is cramped both sides and the people serving behind it have to work as a team to try and serve the customers as quick as possible whilst staying out of each others way. It is certainly not the place to work if you have personal space issues. As it was, apart from the grumpy chap, they were all very pleasant, polite and as quick as they could be under the circumstances in dealing with their customers food and drink orders.
The pub is a Greene King pub and I found drinks prices to be at the upper end of reasonable. They have a large food menu with plenty of choice, again at the upper end of the reasonable scale, but with some good value choices like roasts also available. We were forewarned at the bar (from where you order your meals) that we may have a wait of up to 30 minutes for food, and we had no problem with this. I chose hand battered halloumi and chips for £8.45. They were served with skin on chips with a chilli dip and a small side salad. The portion was generous and very tasty, resembling fish and chips in appearance. Considering how busy they were I thought the chips were cooked just right (I often find chips are over-cooked sometimes in places that are very busy). Some friends shared the Burger Board which was a sharing platter of different mini burgers with onion rings and chips, which they were very pleased with. Others had the Sunday Roasts which were £6.95. They were very popular and certainly nothing was left on the plates. Other dishes available include burgers and pub classics such as fish and chips or beef and ale pie.
The toilets here are outside. I was initially concerned when I heard this, wondering what they would be like, but although in an old, low-ceiling building; the ladies facilities were clean and modern and well stocked with toilet paper, soap etc.
The Turf tavern is a must visit little pub tucked away in the back streets of Oxfords city centre. The pub is situated at 7 bath place and is a real piccle to find. But once you do find it by asking a local pedestrian it is simply one of the best pubs in the world. You walk in and have to bend over as you walk through the door due to the really low ceilings. You are then greeted by some very freindly bar staff who offer excellent serivce.
The pub has alot of history over the years and it was reported that Clinton downed a yard of ale in the back garden of the pub. It really has so much atmosphere as well, due to the low ceilings and the beer garden around the back.
The pub also sells some really great beers and ciders. The most popular and probably the strongest is old Rosie. It is around 7% and really does get those taste buds going. They also have some great food on offer dishes include things like pies and all sorts of other lovely pub food treats.
All in all this is one of the best pubs that i have come across and i would definitely say that if you are looking for a lovely place to come and have a nice drink or some food the the Turf is most definitely the place to come
Most people in Oxford know the Turf. It's a sort of landmark, and a very popular choice with both students and tourists. It's almost always full to bursting over weekends, and when Finals finish it's too full to move. The first time I went there, they'd run out of almost everything, and that was the first day of term. it didn't stop me going back though, and how glad I am about that! It's my very favourite haunt now, and I'd move in, if I could! It serves a range of all the usual drinks - Stella, Mixers, shots etc. But its amazing feature is its Guest Ales. There are 11 of these everyday. They chance every 2 days, so there's almost always something else to try. You can taste every single one, if you're not sure what to have.... The food is generally good, though it can be a little pricey, and if it's very busy there'll be nowhere to sit. On the other hand, the patio gardens are nice, being heated in the Winter, and pleasantly cool in Summer. The buildings are attractively ancient, with low beamed ceilings and the old city wall (C13th) outside. Despite it's size, and the narrow alley thayt leads to it, it's the kind of place people tend to love on sight. Highly recommended.
The Turf Tavern is a delightful pub in the in the centre of Oxford. It is around here that Bill famously did not inhale. Location The pub is located down an alleyway, which joins Holywell Street and New College Lane. 18th century cottages and the Old City Wall, 13th century, surround it. On the other side of the city wall is New College and across Holywell Street is Wadham College. It is ideally situated for anyone who has just visited the colleges in the centre and landmarks such as the Radcliffe Camera. Surroundings The layout of the Turf is rather archaic and I think this adds to its character. The ceilings inside are quite low. There are two medium size rooms inside. Outside they have two beer patios with about 6 trestle tables each. In the winter there are heaters outside so it is possible to remain outside when the pub is busy. Atmosphere During term time the Turf is generally a student pub. On the first day of term the Turf ran out of beer as students had drunk all of it. This means there is always a lively atmosphere and the Turf never feels empty. During the summer the pub usually has more tourists in it. The Turf doe not have any locals in it, supping on bitter in the corner. It is not really a place to bring children and I would recommend it as Pub to drink in and maybe have a snack. Food The Turf serves food from a counter. The food is of reasonable quality but for what you get it is quite expensive. The food at the Kings Arms, at the end of Holywell Street is of a better quality. When the pub is busy it is sometimes impossible to eat due to overcrowding. Drinks The Turf has all the usual pub drinks. It does lack Absinthe and Aftershock but the atmosphere demands a pint. The Turf usually has 2 or 3 guest bitters on tap but the quality of these varies. The Turf has three lagers on draught and two bitters. As with all pubs in the centre of Oxford the drinks are r
easonably expensive. A pint will cost between £2 and £2.50. The Turf certainly has a lot of character. It combines a village pub feel with a location in the centre of Oxford. It is always lively and is a perfect place to go and have a drink in the afternoon on a sunny day. So if you are in Oxford pay it a visit, but remember don't inhale