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The Kings Arms, Oxford

40 Holywell Street
Phone: 01865242369

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

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

Historic inn, no doubt much changed over time but still retaining much character in the various refurbished rooms and spaces around the multi-faceted central servery. Nowadays a Young's pub, with 'Original' (£4.15) and Special supplemented on seven of the 11 handpumps by Tribute, Proper Job, Bath Ales Gem and a couple of ciders.

On 29th September 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6198 recommendations about 6198 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blackthorn _ left this review about The Kings Arms

A large and prominent street corner pub, it doesn’t look anything particularly special from the outside and could perhaps pass for a hotel, but is certainly worth making the effort to go in and not just walking on by to find something that looks a little more inviting.

Internally it has a large, multi-roomed layout, with a bar counter to the right servicing two of these rooms. It was pretty much full to capacity on our Friday early evening visit, and we just managed to bag a sofa squeezed in to a small space under the stairs in a snug at the rear known as The Office. This, and the adjacent bar, almost had the feel of a separate pub, with glazed wooden partitioning running up the length of the adjoining corridor making it quite distinct from the rest of the pub. This was a cosy old room with polished wooden boards on the floor as well as a large rug, wood panelling on the walls giving it a rather elegant feel and plenty of photographs of university sports teams. Seating was mostly Chesterfield sofas and an old fireplace was off to one side, although this appeared to be unused. The adjoining bar was similarly cosy with plenty of pewter tankards hanging from the ceiling and a large collection of beer mats on the wall. The rest of the pub appeared pleasant enough but without the same cosy charm, having predominantly green plasterwork and plenty of old portrait pictures on the wall.

Beers on tap were Young’s Bitter, Young’s Special, Hanlon’s Yellow Hammer, Tribute, Directors, Bath Ales Gem and Bombardier, whilst a further pump appeared to have run out. After that lot, the solitary cider was Thatcher’s Gold. All in all, well worth checking out.

On 16th November 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1749 recommendations about 1684 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Kings Arms

A decent and interesting pub to visit, where you can take a wonder around the multi roomed interior. The bar service was also prompt and efficient, even though the pub was quite busy. My first choice was the Youngs Special, which wasn't at its best, the young barman immediately changed it for the Youngs bitter without hesitation.

On 28th July 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2976 recommendations about 2976 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about The Kings Arms

In the past I have disregarded this place as being an ordinary Youngs pub and walked past, I was wrong in that assumption, It actually has a rather interesting interior, multi-roomed with some fine wood and glazing features throughout. A bonus on the beer front was that as well as a Wells/Youngs selection there was also three from St Austell including a very good Proper Job.
Its worth stopping off here for a pint.

On 25th July 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1354 recommendations about 1340 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Kings Arms

A substantial Youngs pub on a street corner,the best of the interior is to the rear of the building,with a wood panelled and semi glazed back bar,a small snug by a side door an a raised room described as The Office.The main body of the pub at the front is two large rooms,both with flatscreens showing The Tour de France with volume on mute.It's firmly on the tourist trail,but not everyone finds their way to the rear.
The bar is two sided ,after walking around it appeared the real ale selection was from CW Youngs Bitter & Special,Bombardier with guests ales all from St Austell namely Trelawnay,Tribute and Proper Job (in good nick)
Worth including on a crawl for it's fine interior and good to see real ale options beyond the usual CW suspects.

On 23rd July 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2087 recommendations about 2087 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about The Kings Arms

A very decent multi-room Young's pub with outdoor seating, certainly better than the average Young's. On my last visit - after a gap of many years - hot food was available but it certainly wasn't gastro. This is of course a major pull for students and tutors alike, though I don't recall it being a tourist magnet ; expect to see the obligatory picture of the Queen Mother pouring a pint...

On 8th February 2014 - rating: 5
[User has posted 996 recommendations about 981 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The Kings Arms

Recent revisit found things much the same as usual. A welcome sighting of Winter Warmer at the bar (which was in very good nick) plus St Austell Tribute alongside the usual W&Y suspects. As mentioned elsewhere, staffing isn’t exactly the pubs strong point but the blonde waitress with the tight leather trousers made for an interesting diversion inbetween conversation. It’s hard to really garner much love for the place but it is worth having a look in to see if there’s a decent Youngs seasonal on. It’s a 6.5 kind of place.

July 2011
A decent Youngs pub housed in a Georgian-looking building with Wadham College next door. It stocks a couple of good, if predictable, guest ales and some nice bottled beers from the Youngs range. Our last visit found Waggledance (fair), Gold, Ordinary, Special, St Austell Tribute and Bombardier. I'd never felt able to settle in here previously as the front bar is a bit dark and barn-like, with stripped wooden flooring and it gets packed at weekends. However this time we discovered that the big bar area stretches further round then it initially appears and the three individually styled rooms/snugs at the rear are preferable (there’s a small bar here too, so if you’re lucky you might get quicker service). The beer is quite pricey, even compared to other nearby OX1 outlets; £3.60! Worth a pub crawl stop-off but not worth a session unless you are richer than I. Rated 6

On 23rd January 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3997 recommendations about 3985 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about The Kings Arms

Didn’t have a lot of hope for this one when approaching along Broad Street and was expecting the usual Youngs inner city type sterile gastro food orientated pub, but found a much better pub than I was expecting.
This was possibly helped by the fact that we did get some table space in one of the very pleasant smaller snug rooms towards the back of the pub.
As mentioned by previous reviewers, it’s quite a large pub internally, but divided into several distinct spaces , with two serving bar spaces and additional separate rooms. The front bar is comfortable but not the best space in this pub and the smaller rooms at the back have much more atmosphere and house a display of pictures of old customers who have visited down the years, including of course, Morse and Lewis.
Named after King James 1, who was closely involved with the adjacent Wadham College, at various times over the years it’s been a coaching inn and a hotel, and the back bar, known as "The Office" was a male only bar until the fairer sex were allowed in after a redecoration after a fire in 1973.
A decent beer choice for a Youngs pub with seven beers available, which were four Youngs with the usual protagonists and three guest ales. The couple we had were well kept and I could not fault my St Austell’s Tribute, except for the fact that it was bloody expensive and this must be one of the most expensive pubs in OX1.
A decent food menu is available, but we didn’t eat here so I cannot pass comment on that.
It has been a Young's pub since 1991, when it was their first acquisition in Oxford.

On 30th August 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1712 recommendations about 1661 pubs]

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Danny O'Revey left this review about The Kings Arms

Excellent old rambling inn on crossroads in middle of Oxford and adjacent Wadham College. Lots of different quirky spaces off the long corridor, old wood benches and chairs, various photographs of drinkers, pictures old and new. Bags of character.

Youngs provide the beers, though there was one guest, all served in the southern fashion (very little head).

Very nice pub to visit.

On 7th June 2011 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1281 recommendations about 1258 pubs]

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Oggwyn Great left this review about The Kings Arms

Large barn like pub , 8 ales on , full of students and the odd (some very)don . Decent pub but not as good as expected

On 28th November 2009 - rating: 6
[User has posted 779 recommendations about 668 pubs]