#65: The Oxford Bar, Young Street, Edinburgh

The Oxford Bar, Young Street, Edinburgh (exterior)

There’s something wonderful about this pub, it’s like going back in time, or maybe to a remote West coast pub. The small bar is permanently propped up by locals, and the lounge area is like somebody’s living room. It can be quiet at times, but really packed on a Friday night. Tourists come in to wallow in the atmosphere from time to time, just listening to the banter from the bar, or engaging with the locals if they’re brave enough.

The Oxford Bar, Young Street, Edinburgh (interior)

Through in the lounge there are what appear to be church pews, a fireplace and some old photos on the wall. There were one or two locals through here having a quiet pint, reading the paper when we arrived and spoiled it for them (sorry). They didn’t stick around long anyway. In the photo Doug and Westy are re-enacting a scene from the Sweeney, taking advantage of the retro beauty of the room. Westy’s moleskin jacket and chords have never felt so at home.

No writeup would be complete these days without mentioning Inspector Rebus, the fictional policeman who frequents the pub in Iain Rankin’s novels, part of the reason they get tourists, I’m sure. The literary connections go back as far as the 19th century though. You can find out more on the Oxford Bar website, there’s no point rehashing it here.

The Bar

The Oxford Bar, Young Street, Edinburgh (interior, bar)

On cask there was Caledonian Deuchars and Golden XPA, Broughton Lantern Jack and Inveralmond Ossian. On keg there’s Tennent’s Lager, Belhaven Best, and Strongbow.

To the barman’s surprise, Elaine ordered a sherry. For this she got teased gently by the locals sitting at the bar, made worse still when the barman announced that that was their second bottle of sherry finished this year, a new record.

The round was £10.80 for 3 pints of Ossian, so £3.60 per pint.


Typical bar snacks like crisps, nuts etc.


If I recall correctly, there was no TV and no music, though I did spot an iPod dock behind the bar, so there might be music or even radio on sometimes.

I’m not sure if it’s still there, but the gents toilets still had a bakelite hand-drier only a few years ago.

Castle View

Fat chance.


Website: www.oxfordbar.co.uk

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