The Oxford Retreat is on Hythe Bridge Street not far from the city centre. It's housed in a lovely old building near Middle Fisher Row and offers a blend of traditional surroundings with thoughtful modern influences.
What was once a traditional style public house has been developed by the current management into a comfortable yet classy establishment, with an almost club like atmosphere. There's a range of seating available, including ingenious club seats with removable footstools/pouffes, sofas and bar chairs. The dining area is located to the left and rear of the building and has simple yet comfortable wooden tables and chairs. The kitchen is on open view allowing you to watch the skilled chefs at work.
There's a very pleasant decked outdoor area with benches, comfy seats and tables plus there’s a delightful upstairs area with views over the treetops. This upstairs crow’s nest can be reserved, as indeed other seating areas can be. There is also a function room available for hire if desired.
The staff at The Oxford Retreat are without doubt friendly, professional and accommodating. They are an eclectic group, representative of the diversity of Oxford, but they all speak good English. They and the management welcome regulars as old friends but are equally warm to newcomers.
The Oxford Retreat’s clientele is wide ranging but most are generally in their older twenties and upwards. The atmosphere is warm and while there may be many who are on their first visit there is undoubtedly a feeling of a local pub. Customers interact and there is always a pleasant milieu. It's a place where a lone female will not feel uncomfortable if popping in for a drink after work, and to sit and read one of the complimentary newspapers.
Dining at The Oxford Retreat is indeed somewhat of a treat. The food is freshly prepared and the menu offers a comprehensive range of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. Starters range from £3.90 to the more expensive Tiger Prawn dish at £8. Main dishes range from £8 to £12 and are thoughtful and innovative, and there is a wide range of side dishes and salads. There are also large platters for two, such as the Mediterranean Platter or the Hock of Ham with accompaniments.
There are daily specials with a traditonal roast on a Sunday which is best described as sumptuous. There’s a choice of two meats and the vegetables are simply a delight, cooked to perfection and extremely tasty. The Oxford Retreat also has its own website detailing its menu, drinks and wine list.
The Oxford Retreat is not the cheapest drinking establishment in Oxford however it's not overpriced. There's a good range of wines and draught beers which include Leffe Blonde and hand pulled Fullers London Pride for the real ale fans.
There's an extensive cocktail list with a selection of classic cocktails such as the Martini and Bloody Mary, (which is quite wonderful) all priced at £5.50. Modern twists include Appletini and Toffee Apple Martini, with shooters like Baby Guinness and the delightful Slippery Nipple on offer for those in need of a shock to the system.
The Last Word
The Oxford Retreat is a very special establishment in Oxford’s eating and drinking scene and it deserves to be recognised as such.