A Guide to Oxford’s Cocktail Bars

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Image © The Mad Hatter

With the weather warming up the only thing anyone wants to do is sit outside with a chilled glass in hand. Lucky for us that cocktail bars are cropping up all over the place, and Oxford is no exception. Mediterranean drinks, rooftop cocktail bars and an Alice in Wonderland speakeasy – explore the best summer drinking spots in our guide to Oxford’s best cocktail bars.


Raoul’s is one of Oxford’s best known and longest established cocktail bars, and can be found tucked away in the charming surroundings of Jericho. Serving up cocktails since 1979, Raoul’s has undergone several reincarnations over the years but still wins everybody over (including the Sunday Times who ranked them as one of the top 50 bars in the world). Expect lots of fresh fruity numbers - try their Fig and Spiced Mango Daquiri for a sweet treat. They even run cocktail masterclasses called The Cocktail Perverts, which are a great opportunity to go and get mixing drinks with some mates.

Raoul’s Bar and Liquor Store is located at 32 Walton St, Oxford OX2 6AA.

The Mad Hatter

Taking its cue from the giddy surrealism of Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter describes itself as a ‘speakeasy cocktail bar’ situated a little to the east of Oxford city centre over on Iffley Road. Oxford was, of course, home to the Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, and the drinks menu at The Mad Hatter riffs on this theme with style. Try concoctions like The Gigantic Teacup (rhubarb liqueur, pomegranate juice, ginger syrup), Jabberwocky Brew (chambord, grenadine, cranberry and lime) and The Humpty Dumpty (rum, falernum, orange and lime juice). Just be careful you don’t fall off that wall.

The Mad Hatter is located at 43 Iffley Rd, Oxford OX4 1EA.


The great thing about Kazbar is not only the location - slap bang on the main strip of Oxford’s inimitable Cowley Road - but also the tapas. Cocktails and small plates go together like Ross and Rachel, and in these Mediterranean styled surroundings you can taste octopus and tortilla with patatas bravas, washed down with Golden Margaritas and a hell of a lot of Sangria. Live flamenco music regularly takes over the bar, allowing you to experience a slice of Spain in the city of spires.

Kazbar is located at 25-27 Cowley Rd, Oxford OX4 1HP.

The Varsity Club (TVC Oxford)

On the High Street you can find a four-storey building that’s home to one of Oxford’s best rooftop cocktail bars. The Varsity Club also boasts a club area as well as a cocktail lounge - so that’s pretty much got your summer nightlife covered. Think plenty of exposed brick and low-lying seating with a relaxed vibe. Their menu of classic cocktails is accompanied by a great selection of sharing boards in the food section: choose between The Cheese, The Carnivore, The Vegetarian and The Fish. This summer they’ll also be serving lashings of Pimm's with glasses from £6.50 or jugs for £18.50. A great place for groups to spend summer nights out.

The Varsity Club is located at 9 High St, Oxford OX1 4DB.

The House

Of all the bars on this list, The House certainly takes home the Most Stylish Award. It’s a relatively recent arrival on the Oxford cocktails scene, but this intimate bar in a converted Oxford town house definitely makes an impression. Decked out with Philippe Starck sofas, The House also features a games room and private terrace, along with a comprehensive cocktail menu. Classics, Martinis, Long, Tiki, and Sours are all covered - and there is even a decent selection of Virgins for the teetotallers among you, including a fruity Strawberry Colada with lime and coconut cream. Delicious.

The House is located at Wheatsheaf Yard, 11 Blue Boar St, Oxford OX1 4EE.