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Image posted by Graham Coombs
Submitted on Thursday, 20th October 2022
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Turf Tavern, Oxford

5 Bath Place
Phone: 01865243235
Correct details

Pub Type

Greene King

Served areas

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Reviews of Turf Tavern (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Steve C left this review about Turf Tavern

Tucked away down some backstreets, the Turf Tavern isn’t somewhere anyone would likely just stumble upon, however it a famous oldie worldie destination pump that boasts a host of famous people who have visited over the years. This means that it’s usually full of tourists, and this was the case during a recent midweek afternoon visit when all the outside seating was taken with diners, many of them being in large groups. Thankfully I was more interested in the interior than the overseas guests were so I did get to have a proper nose around. There is a double sided bar counter that serves a front standing area and a prime table that sits in the front window to the left. The rear counter faces a few tables and some steps that lead up to a surprisingly large rear extensions and further split-level outside seating.
The 12 hand pumps are split across both bars, but there was only service in the front bar which confused most walking in the side entrance from the front seating. This is currently a Greene King pub so their IPA was available alongside Dark Porter, which is one of their Future Brewer’s Ales. I didn’t rate it very highly. Also on were TT Landlord, White Horse’s Butter Beer and Don’s Dark Ale, Turf Tavern’s own Reggie’s Turf and 1381 Spotted Cow, Old Peculiar, Titanic’s Iceberg and Old Rosie Cider. The service was polite and I think this place is well worth a look, but now that I’ve been I’m not sure that I would go out of my way to revisit.

On 30th October 2023 - rating: 7
[User has posted 5043 recommendations about 5012 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Graham Coombs left this review about Turf Tavern

A veritable Oxford institution, hugely described in previous reviews. The front bit of the pub is nicely historic, but it gets less so as you progress back through the various extensions. A reasonable amount of guest beers, although some are just rebadged GK stuff, but the place is just a bit too overwhelmed by tourists to be great.

On 20th October 2022 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3217 recommendations about 3155 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Turf Tavern

One of Oxford’s most famous pubs, this is a multiple roomed venue in a well-hidden location down a small alleyway close to the Bridge of Sighs. This unpromising looking passage zigzags a short way to reach the pub, which is to your left, with an outdoor toilet block to the right. You enter to one of two rather similar traditional bar areas, both with exposed floorboards and a shared servery. The left-hand bar is the more atmospheric of the two and is where the staff were serving from, leading to long queues during a particularly busy period not long after I’d been served. The room has very low beams – watching unsuspecting folk bump their heads is perhaps the best bit about sitting in this room – and a nice curved, dark wood counter with a matching intricately carved bar back. Seating is extremely limited, mainly comprising a few settles around the perimeter, but it was the liveliest room on my most recent visit. The right-hand bar has some exposed stone walls and a bit more in the way of seating, but with the bar not in use, it acted more like an overspill seating area than an actual bar. Moving right through the pub, you find yourself in a third room which is also quite pleasant and traditional in its presentation, offering a mix of tables and chairs and high tables and stools. Beyond this, you start moving into a more modern area – essentially a couple of dining rooms set across two levels and painted in light shades that contrast jarringly with the dark wood interior throughout the remainder of the pub. There’s lots of formal seating throughout and a large mural on the end wall, but these spaces lacked any ambiance or character and are indicative of Greene King’s poor attempts to broaden the pub’s appeal. The whole pub is decorated with a mix of traditional items such as paintings and ornaments, and an array or corporate Greene King stuff that diminishes the pub’s overall effect. Outdoor seating can be found in both the passageway and in a walled garden on the other side of the building.
I was a little surprised to see six operational handpulls when I arrived, offering a choice of Greene King IPA, St Austell Tribute, Wadworth 6X and a house beer which was presumably a rebadged Greene King brew, plus two real ciders. My Tribute was okay and I enjoyed siting in the busy bar area, watching the endless queue of tourists who were presumably keen to see the pub where Bill Clinton famously “did not inhale”, where former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke broke the world record for downing a yard of ale(!) or perhaps more likely nowadays, where the cast of the Harry Potter movies would retire after filming scenes in the cities colleges.
I used to visit this pub regularly in the late 90’s when staying with friends in Oxford, but I feel the pub, which was already a tourist trap back then, has lost some of its charm and is at risk of becoming nothing more than a stopping point on tourist itineraries. I still think it’s well worth a look if you’ve never been before and the multiple room interior means that there’s plenty to explore over multiple visits, but the pedestrian ale range and tourist crowds mean that I’ll probably be a bit more selective about returning here in the future.

On 8th February 2022 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3015 recommendations about 3015 pubs]

View more reviews of Turf Tavern (19)
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A selection of 2013 GBG city centre pubs. by Bucking Fastard
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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Tris C
Oxford, 0.83 miles, 16 min walk (show)
Oxford Parkway, 3.71 miles, 1 hr 11 min walk (show)
Radley, 5.64 miles, 1 hr 48 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for Turf Tavern, Oxford
30th Oct 2023, 11:40
Review submitted by Steve C amended by Steve C
30th Oct 2023, 10:37
Review submitted by Steve C

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 : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 02 October 2013 by Quinno _
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Beer Garden : Yes last updated 30 July 2013 by Moby Duck
  • CAMRA Discount : Yes - 10% - last updated 12 November 2019 by Komakino .
  • Car Park : No last updated 30 July 2013 by Moby Duck
  • Child Friendly : Yes last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Darts : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Dog Friendly : Yes last updated 08 February 2022 by Pub SignMan
  • Function Room : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Jukebox : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Karaoke : No last updated 02 October 2013 by Quinno _
  • Live Music : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Live TV Sports : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Micropub : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Pinball : No last updated 02 October 2013 by Quinno _
  • Pool Table : No last updated 02 October 2013 by Quinno _
  • Quiz Night : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 10 June 2020 by Quinno _
  • Real Cider : Yes last updated 08 February 2022 by Pub SignMan
  • Wheelchair Access : No last updated 31 August 2023 by Tris C
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 08 February 2022 by Pub SignMan
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