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This weeks pub garden extravaganza takes us back to the 'old skool' pubs of Oxford. The ones soaked in history, that seldom have a dull moment and provide a full flavouring of banterous hilarity. (I just wrote that wearing a tweed jacket smoking a pipe on my gap yar).
This pub offers not one, but three pub gardens in its secret, idyllic location.
It is connected by two miniature, slightly surreal alleyways, that would make you think you might get mugged by Harry Potter who just wants change for another Old Rosie cider. Depending on which way you enter, from the Bridge Of Sighs alleyway (St Helens passage) you'll be greeted by a cluster of oak bench tables primed and ready for easy bar transitions. This one fills up quick but dodging down the right hand side you'll find another area of tables, some under shade, situated next to the Turf's recently renovated dining area. We've spent many a night chatting and drinking here in the quaint little walled off garden. A dying sun makes this area rather special.
If you took a left at the first few tables you'll find a raised seating area. Great for outside dining as they are usually 4 seater tables with parasol's to cover you from the Sun. It's easy access to the bar from here also.
You'll find that this is a student favourite pub. It can be filled with rich conversations and laugh-out-loud moments. It's long history also brings in the tourists so make sure if you venture to the Turf you're here sharp. If you don't reserve a table for lunch then make sure you're there for 12pm to get one. Their burgers are awesome, unless you spill it on your lap - but you'll have to scoop it back up again. Beers and ciders range from £3.40 to £4.75. Peroni coming in at £4.50 and Bewdog IPA at £4.75.
Now if you come to Oxford and don't venture to the Bear Inn then you've not done Oxford at all. You'll miss a crucial landmark of the city. The oldest pub here, built in 1242, which is just a bit older than me and you. It's pub garden is located around the side or back depending on how you look at it. So it's away from the busy high street and tucks nicely along the small road. It has great bench sizes... wow, I actually just said that... (CV update. Interests: fascinated by benches), but in all seriousness, it's great, because you and your mates, even if they are invisible can crowd around quite easily and still enjoy some bants.
The huge parasols are great for when it chucks it down but there is still space on some other non-covered tables. It can be a bit shaded in this garden in the evening but for a mid afternoon pint, it's definitely worth it, you can soak in some history, drink some ale and feel educated at the same time. If you don't like those things, then leave the internet.
The Bear Inn is a small but beautiful pub with a simple beer garden, but one that just works when you want it to. Easy to get to from the city centre too. We often include this one on a pub crawl as it's always an easy one to jump into along route. Beers and ales range from around £4.00 - £5.00 with Sierra Nevada pale ale coming in £5.50.