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Beer of the Week (w/e 10th November 2019) with Thuck Phat on the Pub Forum

Picture of The Head of the River
Image posted by Blackthorn _
Submitted on Saturday, 10th November 2018
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The Head of the River, Oxford

Folly Bridge
Oxford
OX1 4LB
Correct details

Pub Type

Fuller's

Served areas

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Reviews of The Head of the River (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Blackthorn _ left this review about The Head of the River

Located, as it’s name suggests, in a prominent position alongside the Thames, this is a large pub with plenty of outside seating on a terrace at the front as well as accommodation on the upper floors.

Internally it’s largely all one open plan room, although there is some partitioning and archways to break up the space a little. Décor wise it is fairly rustic I suppose, but also managed to look a bit artificial as well, almost as though someone has gone to a lot of trouble to make it appear rustic. Flooring is a mixture of flagstone style tiling and wood strip, with some chequered tiling around the bar counter. There was a decent amount of exposed brick walling including some attractive archways to the upper level, with cream plasterwork and blue/grey wood panelling elsewhere. Large windows facing the river made the most of the attractive outlook and some of the wood partitioning consisted of shelving that had been filled with a large quantity of old books, miner’s lamps and so on. A large exposed stone fireplace was an interesting feature, but appeared to be unused.

Beers on tap were all from Fullers with their London Pride, HSB and the seasonal Red Fox whilst a fourth pump for Dark Star Hophead was presumably coming soon (or “Wish you were beer” as the small slate attached to the pump handle said). The solitary cider meanwhile was Cornish Orchard’s Gold. Prices seemed steep with a pint and a half coming in at £7.35, no doubt cashing in on the prime location.

On 16th November 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1707 recommendations about 1643 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Tris C left this review about The Head of the River

I don't know when this pub opened as it's a warehouse conversion but it has been here since my one last visit, 23 years ago. Unchanged since the reviews below, this is indeed a large split level pub with much brick, both painted and bare. Furniture is conventional as well as button-wingbacked armchairs and leatherette banquettes; the floor is slate, covered with some kilims, the whole punctuated by muted music and friendly service. The overall effect is one of a hotel bar which is no surprise given that this is a hotel pub, except that I doubt other hotel pubs have run out of lavatory paper at just 7.30 pm; does no-one here check the lavs?
Ales: the standard Fuller's range with the addition of Shotover's Oxford Prospect at £2.20 a half and ok, the high price being explained by the pub's tourist trap location.
The main draw of course is the idyllic location and in this respect it succeeds, but as mentioned below, enthusiasm wanes on a rainy or winter's day when the disincentive of the long slog here from the centre of Oxford is a bit of drag.
That said, on a hot summer's day there's no doubting that if you want a great riverside view, this pub gives good head.

On 3rd September 2016 - rating: 4
[User has posted 929 recommendations about 916 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Pub SignMan left this review about The Head of the River

This split level Fullers pub has a peerless location on the banks of the Thames, adjacent to Folly's Bridge. There are probably more seats out on the expansive riverside patio than there are inside the pub, which is fair enough, as the views are certainly worth taking in over a pint or two. Numerous tables and chairs cover a deceptively large area which has an old crane as a centrepiece. Two entrances lead into a well kept interior. The lower, right hand door has a porch with some information boards inside, including one which explains the origins of the 'Oxford Eights' - a regatta which takes place on the river outside. The servery runs along the back wall and is split level in the same way as the rest of the room. There is a mix of bare floorboards and quarry stone flooring throughout, with modern wallpaper providing a slightly contemporary slant on an otherwise conservative interior. Lots of comfy button backed banquettes and a fair bit of standard seating is available, with a lovely fireplace to the right of the bar acting as a focal point. Various old photos and items of local interest can be found throughout and are worth a bit of snooping through. There is also a nice first floor balcony outside, decorated with a wonderfully colourful display of flowers, although I couldn't figure out if customers were permitted up there.
Three Fullers ales - London Pride, ESB and Oliver's Island - were available alongside a guest from Prospect. I gave the Oliver's Island a try and thought it was okay but not in tip-top condition. Food is also available and the pub is a handy start/finish point for anyone wanting to enjoy a river cruise from any of the numerous companies that operate from Folly's Bridge.
If this pub were to be dropped just about anywhere else in Oxford, it would be a fairly unremarkable place but it is the prospect of supping a pint whilst watching inept folk trying their hand at punting on the river that makes the place a draw. Whether the pub stands up to repeat visits in inclement weather is another matter entirely.

On 7th October 2015 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2339 recommendations about 2339 pubs]


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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Bucking Fastard
Oxford, 0.92 miles, 17 min walk (show)
Oxford Parkway, 4.17 miles, 1 hr 20 min walk (show)
Radley, 5.07 miles, 1 hr 37 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Head of the River, Oxford
16th Nov 2018, 10:51
Review submitted by Blackthorn _
 
10th Nov 2018, 17:20
Picture submitted by Blackthorn _ approved

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Accommodation : Yes last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 30 May 2018 by Komakino .
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Beer Garden : Yes last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • CAMRA Discount : No last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Car Park : No last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Child Friendly : Yes last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Darts : No last updated 30 May 2018 by Komakino .
  • Dog Friendly : Yes last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Function Room : No last updated 30 May 2018 by Komakino .
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Jukebox : No last updated 30 May 2018 by Komakino .
  • Karaoke : No last updated 30 May 2018 by Komakino .
  • Live Music : Yes last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Live TV Sports : Yes last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Micropub : No last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Pinball : No last updated 30 May 2018 by Komakino .
  • Pool Table : No last updated 30 May 2018 by Komakino .
  • Quiz Night : No last updated 30 May 2018 by Komakino .
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Real Cider : No last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Wheelchair Access : No last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 18 May 2017 by ROB Camra
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