The White Horse

Price guide: Budget

52 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BB

Price guide: Budget

The White Horse

By Adrian Mourby, your Oxford expert

I write for Classic FM, Evening .... Read more
#20 of 27
expert-rated restaurants in Oxford
Expert overall rating:3.9 out of 5
Food and drink:
3.1
3.1
Ambience:
4.3
4.3
Service:
3.2
3.2
Location:
4.3
4.3
Value for money:
3.2
3.2
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Singles, No fuss, Sightseeing

Expert review of The White Horse

Top Oxford pub for atmosphere.

This is a CAMRA-nominated pub where people go to stand at the bar and drink; there are usually six real ales available. At the moment these include Timothy Taylor Landlord, White Horse Wayland Smithy, Vale Bitter, Shotover Brewery 'Prospect', Wychwood Hobgoblin, St Austel 'Tribute' and Sharps 'Doombar'. I'm not a great beer drinker myself but I do love the White Horse for being exactly what it is, a place to stand up and swallow a lot of beer. Do not try the White Horse on a first date or to read a book quietly unless you have phenomenal powers of concentration. This is, however, a great place to pile into during an interval at the Sheldonian Theatre or in the middle of sight-seeing or shopping.

The White Horse likes to claim you can step back in time here. Actually you're more likley to fall in as the age of this drinking den is attested by the fact that street levels in Oxford have risen considerably since it was built. Viewed from outside it does sometimes look as if the White Horse is sinking under the weight of Blackwell's Bookshop.

Episodes of both Inspector Morse and its sequel Lewis were shot here. In 2008 Elijah Wood and John Hurt filmed a scene from The Oxford Murders inside the pub's narrow bar.  

During recent restoration of the kitchen a "witche's broom" was found behind the rafters. As no-one would touch it out of superstition, it was left in situ and just boarded up. The management says it remains there still.

Food and drink: 

There's nothing fancy about the food but it will sustain you between beers. Try the homemade soup of the day with crusty bread (£3.95), the baguettes filled with ham, beef, chicken, crayfish or smoked salmon (£5.95 including salad and chips), or, if you want something healthier, how about Greek salad - feta olives and crusty bread with a mixed leaf salad for £6.45?

Recommended dishes: 

The hot steak and stilton baguette with salad and chips is good value at £6.95.

Ambience: 

Noisy. Basic. Fun - as long as you don't trip up the steps to the lavatories (which many do).

Service: 

Give the man money and he will give you beer. It's not much more sophisticated than that.

Location: 

Broad Street is a major university and tourist through route. The White Horse faces the Sheldonian Theatre and is surrounded by bookshops. Trinity and Balliol colleges are nearby, as is Wadham. You have to like students.

Tables to book: 

You can't book the table at the back but it's the one everybody covets. You can't miss it (in its own nook at the top of the steps leading up to the lavatories). This is the only place you can hear yourself speak sometimes. People edge closer at the bar until it becomes free and they can pounce.

More information on The White Horse:

Price guide:
Budget
Type:
Pub
Food:
British
Address:
52 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BB
Telephone:
01865 204801
Serves:
Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Opening times:
Food served every day 11am-9pm.
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Reservations:
Not possible
Free tags / Keywords:
Great British Pub

Have you been to The White Horse? Would you recommended it?