One of the oldest (if not the oldest) pubs in Oxford, the Bear is a "must-visit" pub on any crawl of the city of the Dreaming Spires. An old student favourite of ours, we recently visited after a hiatus of over a decade. Although the present building is "only" seventeenth century, there has been a hostelry on this site since 1242. Now a Fuller's pub, the usual selection was available, together with a guest whose name escapes us. The most notable feature of the Bear, apart from the well-known low ceilings, is its collection of ties. Not all are on display, but they adorn the place and have done for over fifty years (we understand that one was once able to exchange a tie for a pint, especially if one was famous and/or a former member of the University or part of its establishment). All in all, however, we were a touch disappointed on our visit. Perhaps it's the passing of time and a tendency to don rose-tinted spectacles, but there just wasn't the charm or intimacy which we once knew (it may be partly due to the fact that the place has been spruced up - it was famously dusty and dark in the day). It's still a three-pinter and worth visiting, but not quite the same as what it used to be.
6 Alfred Street, Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4EH
How to get there
Door-to-door journey planner
How to find the Bear pub
From the High Street (towards the St. Aldate's end), take Alfred Street which is across the High from Turl Street. Follow the cobbled road round and you'll find the pub.