Though we ship our cocktails up and down the country, The Cocktail Society was born in Oxford.
So it makes sense that we’d have the run down on the best bars in the area.
After all our team have worked at a few of them, and sat on the other side of the bar at plenty more.
Whether you’ve just moved to the area or are staying the weekend, the beautiful town of Oxford is not only steeped in history but has become a sociable city with a vast array of eccentric and original bars to discover and explore.
Oxford is a city that is renowned the world over as a stunning university town. A cultural hub for students, tourists and residents alike, it stands to reason that there are more bars to check out than you likely have time for.
The Cocktail Society have hand-picked the best bars in Oxford, so you don’t have to.
The Best Cocktail Bars In… Series
Raoul’s | Jericho
Standing in the Jericho district of Oxford since 1979, Raoul’s is a serious drinker’s den. Jericho has somewhat of a name for itself for its buzzing nightlife, and if you’re in town it’s definitely worth a visit.
As an award-winning cocktail bar ranked in the Top 50 in the World by The Sunday Times, be sure to check out Raoul’s.
With a range of sophisticated cocktails for every occasion, the bar also has a resident DJ to really set the mood at the weekend. Set over two storeys, this cosy bar is guaranteed a buzzing atmosphere and is a great place to begin your night out in Oxford.
Some of the best cocktails in Oxford / Resident DJ / In the heart of Jericho.
If you want amazing drinks, in a laid-back trendy bar then head straight to Raoul’s. Check out Raoul’s
Sandys Piano Bar | City Centre
Sandys Piano Bar is a great addition to the Oxford nightlife and fuses great drinks and live music.
Is a cool and classy bar on two floors that has a New York jazz bar vibe. Great live music bars are somewhat of a rarity, despite them being wildly popular venues and Sandy’s thankfully delivers.
The wines and cocktails are inventive and well-executed and the live music creates a great atmosphere any night of the week.
Be aware though it gets super busy on the weekends.
Live Music / Great Wines & Cocktails
The Varsity Club | City Centre
This bar is arguably one of the most famous cocktail bars in Oxford.
Boasting a magnificent view of the city of Oxford and beyond, take in the spires and city highlights from this rooftop bar. The Varsity Club plays great music, has an inventive cocktail menu and sharing boards if you feel a little peckish.
In the summer, expect a beach-club vibe, but whatever time of year you go, you’re bound to get a feel of Oxford city life.
The Varsity Club is both a cocktail lounge and restaurant, serving coffee, classic food dishes and cocktails, too. Even if you don’t fancy the rooftop bar you can take it easy in the Moroccan-inspired lounge. With a dance floor to check out once the drinks are flowing, The Varsity Club is a great place to end your night.
Rooftop bar & heated terrace / Food available / Dancefloor open until 3am
For the best views in Oxford there’s no other place. Check out The Varsity Club
The Duke Of Cambridge | Jericho
Mixing cocktails since 1981, this bar knows a thing or two about great drinks.
A regular haunt for Oxford natives, this bar offers a taste of the high life with impressive ceilings and chandeliers bringing a touch of sophistication to every visit. The bartenders know their stuff too, so regardless of what your favourite tipple is, you’ll be able to enjoy it here.
This bar gets very busy on the weekends, but with over 30 years of serving cocktails, the team is more than ready to cater for the numbers.
There is an extensive back bar and happy hours throughout the week.
The Duke of Cambridge happy hours run from 4pm – 9pm Sunday to Thursday, and 4pm – 7:30pm Friday and Saturday. The many year’s of experience is what makes this bar stand out from the rest.
Expect perfection with every cocktail and a real sense of Oxford nightlife. This bar is tucked away on Little Clarendon Street, an ideal location for one of the most famous bars in Oxford.
Years of cocktail making experience / Extensive cocktail menu with experienced bartenders / Guaranteed buzzing atmosphere
It’s a stalwart of the Oxford bar scene and you are always guaranteed a a great night here. Check out The Duke Of Cambridge.
Kazbar | Cowley Rd
For an authentic night that brings with it a feel for all things the Mediterranean, be sure to check out Kazbar. Located on Cowley Road, always known for its buzzing and lively atmosphere, Kazbar offers two nights in one with a range of tasty tapas to enjoy over a drink.
If you’re looking for a cosy getaway for a few hours, then Kazbar is for you. Reasonably priced, there’s a good vibe guaranteed any day of the week as you can always just pop in for some food. Their cocktails and food menu don’t compromise on flavour, and there’s a weekly happy hour, as if that wasn’t already enough!
Check out their blog for latest news and upcoming events including live music. If you’re looking for a bar in Oxford where you can forget day-to-day life, then Kazbar is perfect for a chilled, pleasant, on-brand atmosphere.
Authentic Mediterranean experience/ Cosy / Delicious tapas
A bar like no other in Oxford, the design aesthetic is incredible. Check out Kazbar.
The Alchemist | Westgate
For a truly creative night out then head to the Alchemist.
What gives this bar the reputation it has is the fact that they turn cocktail drinking into a spectacle and special event with every drink they serve.
Expect flames, smoke, chemistry theatrics and razzmatazz if you decide to head to the Alchemist. With a great eye for detail, the bartenders are perfectionists, creating a masterpiece right before your eyes.
This would be a great place to start your night and really treat yourself. What’s more, its fantastic location makes it a great space to showcase everything Oxford has to offer; as it sits on the roof terrace of Westgate Shopping Centre you can feel right at the heart of things.
Perfect for glamorous occasions and a touch of the whimsical, get whisked away for the evening at The Alchemist. One of the best bars in Oxford, not to miss? We think so.
Great central location / Theatrical night out / Unique drinking experience
Cocktails to excite in Oxford’s coolest new bar and restaurant quarter. Check out The Alchemist.
Café Tarifa | Cowley Road
For a warm atmosphere, a cosy escape, and delicious authentic dishes, head to Café Tarifa. With plenty of Moroccan vibes and a chilled, vibrant bar, while the night away here if you’re looking for something different.
With Moroccan lamps hanging from trees, Café Tarifa doesn’t disappoint in décor. The outdoor space is bound to entice you in, canopies and trees bringing a taste of the Med to this cosy bar located on the Cowley Road.
Pop here for one, or several, and grab some food before you discover the bars the famous Cowley Road has to offer. Be warned though; once you get to Café Tarifa you may never want to leave.
Highlights: An authentic taste of the Med / Relaxed, warm and vibrant surroundings / Live music every Wednesday
Another Cowley Rd treat, this Morrocan style bar is buzzing in the summer. Check out Cafe Tarifa.
If you want to see more city guides then head over to The Clubhouse.