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The Oxford Tavern, Kentish Town, NW5

256 Kentish Town Road
NW5
NW5 2AA
Phone: 02074853521

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Pub Type

Metropolitan Pub Co (Greene King)
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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Tris C left this review about The Oxford Tavern

I came here once around 1988 when it was called the Vulture's Perch and didn't return for about 14 years, at which time the lavatories were some of the worst I'd ever seen. A return in October 2016 to a Greene King outlet, revealed a thoroughly made-over primped venture with utterly rancid ale and pumping music.
Rebuilt in 1863, recently refurbished yet again and reopened in the last few days under the stewardship of the West Berkshire Brewery and some degree of sanity has been reinstated, the pub now being more muted. The wood-panelled dining room remains, but the main bar has been toned down a bit – gone is the overly embellished modern bar back, replaced instead by one of a simpler wooden design. The bar is wood topped with a dark field panelled front. Bare filament bulbs hang above from long flexes. The floor is bare and of slightly rough boards. The clichéd indigo colour scheme has been eschewed in favour of refreshingly simple white, applied by way of camouflage to the air handling’s limited ductwork. There is though a little bare brick. There’s also a beer shelf with stools to part of the picture windows along Islip Street. Furniture is conventional with some Britannia tables and normal stools. They are though positioned quite far apart, meaning that there’s a lot of vacant floor space, so even though there were few punters in, there was nowhere to sit, which for me is a bit of a deterrent – if I’d come here with friends for an evening, we’d have gone elsewhere to find a table. However, seating or not, we’d have gone elsewhere because of the thumpingly loud music, rendering conversation all but impossible – some things don’t change then.
Ales: Mister Swift’s Pale Ale (off, but oddly without a reversed clip), Mister Chubb’s Lunchtime Bitter and Good Old Boy Best at £4.60 a pint, best described as a boring brown beer.
Overall the Oxford Tavern is a big improvement over the Oxford, the end result is something which is thankfully more pubby, but the mundane ale, limited seating and especially the loud music must result in a below average score.

On 14th May 2018 - rating: 4
[User has posted 998 recommendations about 983 pubs]


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Alan Winfield left this review about The Oxford

The Oxford is a corner pub that is very handy for Kentish Town Tube and rail stations,i needed the tube so this was a good pub to end my pub crawl in.
Once inside there is a long oblong shaped room which runs to the rear,the room is bare boarded and the bar is on the left side,the seating is bench seating and chairs,the rear area was set for diners,where there were normal tables and chairs,there was an open kitchen on the mid left side.
There were three real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Trumans Bow Bells,which went down very well as my last drink on my pub crawl,there was also Southwark Full Sail and GK IPA on the bar.
Decent background music was playing but not loud enough for me.
I thought this was a decent pub that was very busy on my late Friday afternoon visit to end my pub crawl in.

Pub visited 2/6/2017

On 9th August 2017 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6113 recommendations about 6113 pubs]


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Rex Rattus left this review about The Oxford

The ales on here were GK IPA, St Austell Tribute, Belhaven Grand Slam, and Twickenham Grandstand (£4.15 a pint). A reasonable selection without being anything very exciting. Food is on the gastro side of things – Baked Dover Crab is £16; Rare Breed Dexter Beef Burger is £13, Fish & Chips is £13, and Sea Bass £16. I had a decent club sandwich, with some chips in a little metal bucket, for £8. According to the menu Sunday roasts are also available, but not priced on the menu.

But although it’s not totally a gastropub it did have the bar counter, the bar back and ceiling all painted indigo; there was more than enough exposed brickwork for most people’s taste, and the seemingly now obligatory water container complete with cucumbers or some other green vegetable was on the counter. But on the plus side there were only two or three tall tables/tall stools, and with plenty of banquette seating, standard tables, stools and recycled church chairs.

This pub dates fron 1863 according to the mosaic tiling on the floor in one of the entrances. There are still a few original features remaining – the bar counter is definitely original and you can clearly see the division between the old public and saloon bars with the more elaborately decorated counter in the old saloon bar area to the right. Indeed the vestibule leading into the old saloon bar is still in place, with another bit of mosaic tiling on the floor declaring it to be the saloon bar. On the right is a single storey room that’s now used as a dining room, but looks as if it may once have been a billiards room, although there’s now no skylight. There’s some ouside seating on benches on the pavement.

Apparently there’s a function room and cocktail lounge upstairs, but I didn’t bother to go exploring up there. Quiz nights are on Tuesdays. A big minus for me was the reggae music being played too loudly for my taste. There was a steady stream of punters dropping in on Wednesday lunchtime, but it never got very busy. I bet it gets noisier in the evenings, especially if they continue to play music as loudly as at lunchtime. But it did the job for me, by providing a half decent pint and a bit of reasonably priced (for London anyway) scran.

On 20th March 2017 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2577 recommendations about 2495 pubs]


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miss india left this review about The Oxford

I've eaten here many times but not sure I've ever been just for drinks. It seems much more geared towards dining, which is fine, but I suppose that's why I consider it more a restaurant. The food is always good so it's been a dependable regular option for a meal out with the parents. Always a nice atmosphere and good service.

On 6th March 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3 recommendations about 3 pubs]


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Pub SignMan left this review about The Oxford

This Victorian era street corner pub, close to Kentish Town station, seemed like a decent bet for a pint prior to a gig at the nearby Kentish Town Forum. It has a fairly simple layout, with the front part of the pub set up for drinking and the rear part reserved for diners. The servery runs down the left hand side of the deceptively narrow, bare boarded room and has a row of standard and low stool seating directly opposite. The walls and pillars have been painted in rather dull shades and there is very little in the way of visual distraction, apart from a formative pump clip collection behind the bar. Eventually the servery transitions from bar to kitchen, at which point the room opens out slightly and formally arranged tables fill up a slightly more attractive space, dominated by a large blackboard which lists the entire menu. A few standard lamps complete the décor, but it’s still all a little bland and unfortunately the toilets are situated at the rear of the dining area, which isn’t ideal for drinker or diner alike. A door near the front of the bar leads upstairs to a comedy club and various posters and flyers around the room promoted upcoming shows.
There were three ales on hand pump – house beer Oxford Kentish Town Ale (a re-badged Greene King beer according to CAMRA), St Austell Proper Job and Truman’s Bold as Brass. I found myself with a pint of the latter which was probably past its best. Keg options included two beers from the Camden Brewery as well as Hog’s Back Hazy Hog Cider.
The front half of the pub was packed when I visited, so it was hard to get comfortable propped up at the bar and this was even more frustrating as the dining section was half empty. It was encouraging to find a few ales available, but the quality wasn’t great and I can’t see me returning when there are other more reliable pubs in the vicinity.

On 3rd February 2014 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2545 recommendations about 2545 pubs]


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john gray left this review about The Oxford

Nice food led pub with a rear dining area. 3 handpumps in use and the Old Dairy-Red Top and Windsor and Eton-Parklife were good.

On 16th January 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 940 recommendations about 927 pubs]


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Malden man left this review about The Oxford

Generally you get what you expect on entering a premises signed as a "Pub and Dining Room", certainly here, my first impression being the smell of fish and cooking oil. The long single space is split, about 60:40 in favour of the rear area, fully designated for diners with tables laid, wine glasses upturned etc. The bar is along a side wall, this transforms into a food servery and kitchen as the demarcation line is crossed. The signs around saying "Welcome Back" suggest a recent refurb and opening but it doesn't really look that fresh to me. This is another NW5 pub with a "Wait to be Seated" demand for the food area, quite frankly that sort of thing would lead me to look elsewhere should I fancy a pub meal.
Concentrating on the remaining pub section, the floor is naturally boarded, lower gastro grey walls and ceiling, some distressed exposed brick, generally regular seating, the motown/ R&B soundtrack was overly loud, especially at 5pm, the TV was off.
Beerwise there are three handpumps, The Oxford Kentish Town Finest Ale (3.9%){I suspect a GK brew}, Sharps Amber Pilsner and Twickenham Ales Vanguard (£3.70). Keg offerings included Camden Hells and Pale Ale. A font advertised a Cornish cider from Sharps, a new sighting for me.
Food menus differentiate between lunches and dinners, mains £12-£16.50, bar snacks £3.50-£6.00.
The pub has a few outdoor pavement tables on the side, operates a book exchange and has a first floor function room available for hire.
A friend of mine used to live in Kentish Town in the 1980s, I frequented this pub then in another guise and (forgotten) name, the area used to be quite down to earth and the pubs basic, the world has changed a lot in 25 years or so.

On 4th August 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1687 recommendations about 1663 pubs]


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Will Larter left this review about The Oxford

The beer was OK (Sharps Own, Cottage Duchess and Dartmoor Best), if a tad expensive (£3.50 a pint for a standard bitter - compare Assembly House and Southampton Arms prices), but this pub was spoilt for me by the strong smell of cooking. Maybe it's because I'm a vegetarian, but the scent of roasted meats doesn't really go too well with beer, in my view. The decor was pretty plain, verging on the rough, and the tables and chairs were what I believe is termed "distressed".

On 24th November 2010 - rating: 3
[User has posted 2648 recommendations about 2496 pubs]


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Quinno _ left this review about The Oxford

The pub that’s nearest the tube, so it inevitably gets busy when a gig is on further up the road. The interior is split into two – the drinkers get the long narrow strip that runs parallel to the bar. As mentioned elsewhere, this area can get ridiculously busy at peak times. Envious glances are then thrown towards the far end of the pub where a fairly large dining area exists for the people sampling the delights of the open kitchen. That said, there was a good atmosphere last night and it was unusual to see a number of cigarette brands on sale behind the bar. The background muzak is trendy trendy trendy and is clearly aimed at the gig-goers and yuppie types. Three ales were on offer – Sharps IPA, Sambrooks Wandle and Deuchars IPA. My Sharps was OK, if not a patch on the quality offered at the Southampton or Junction that same evening given the £3.40 price tag. A good selection of spirits were also available.

I wouldn’t be averse to popping again, but there are better pubs within 10 minutes walk if you’re in the area for a gig and have a good hour’s drinking time beforehand.

On 29th September 2010 - rating: 6
[User has posted 4042 recommendations about 4030 pubs]


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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Oxford

A bit more like a real pub than the gastro-pub decor would suggest. Yes, they do have one of those modern open kitchen areas that wafts the smell of cooking throughout the place, and yes, the whole of the back area is set out as a restaurant. However, the majority of the early-evening clientele was drinking around the bar and the tables by the windows. Three real ales on, including an OK pint of Harveys. Good atmosphere, and overall rather better than I expected.

On 5th December 2009 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6199 recommendations about 6199 pubs]

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