32 Marston Street,
The ViewOxford Review
The Oxford Blue is one of the most popular pubs in town.
Ten minutes walk from the city centre, The Oxford Blue sits between Cowley and Iffley roads in the quiet, residential surroundings of Marston Street. Of the three roads streaming away from the city at Magdalen Roundabout, Iffley Road is the calmest and the quickest route to The Blue.
The university sports ground dominates the south side of the road and provides aesthetic respite from the busily structured beauty of the High Street and city centre. The pub itself is towards the Iffley end of Marston Street, with benched tables in front of it. There is room for up to 100 people inside and 50 or more outside.
The interior is smart and comfortable and is duck-egg white with black leather sofas, pine tables and matching chairs. It has the air of a chic but tubby bachelor’s living room - the classy modern furniture contrasts with shelves of dog-eared books and board games. There are also a handful of tables out the front and the back for surreptitious smokers and those elusive summer days.
Except for weekends it is rarely busy before six o’clock, when a steady stream of friendly regulars and mock-shabby students potter in for a few pints and occasional food. As well as a plasma screen and a smaller TV, there is a projection screen for the more popular sports matches so, although it can get busy during the top football and rugby fixtures, it should be possible to see most of a screen in some part of the pub. The amiable bar staff are helpful and attentive and this is reflected in the easygoing vibe between regulars, students and families.
Although towards the pricier end of the pub market in Oxford (expect to pay between £6 and £12 for a main course), the food is of a high standard and has many fans and a lot of regular customers. Breakfast is served from 10am, lunch noon to 3pm, and dinner from 6pm to 9pm. On Sundays a selection of roasts is served from midday onwards. The homemade burgers and the generous roasts are delicious highlights, with homemade desserts to complement them. There is also a choice of lighter bites and snacks if you are feeling peckish.
Standard lagers (Kronenbourg, Fosters) are served crisp and cold, but an underwhelming couple of ales are not this pub’s strongest suit. There is a well chosen range of bottled cider, wines and spirits and also a swanky coffee machine for those work based wi-fi sessions.
The Last Word
Without a doubt one of the best pubs in Oxford. The Oxford Blue is friendly, smart and comfortable. It is relaxing during the day with free wi-fi, great food and an excellent coffee machine, and there is enough hustle and bustle during evening sports fixtures to add that classic pub excitement to the occasion.
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