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Lamb and Flag, Oxford

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user reviews of the Lamb and Flag, Oxford

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

I hadn't been in here for a couple of years and was pleasantly surprised by the wide selection of real ale on offer, which seems to change on a regular basis. They even had a choice of porters - from XT and somewhere else. The premises are unexceptional but OK: the historic /old side room at the back smells a bit damp and some tourists described the toilets as 'medieval' which isn't entirely fair - they need to travel more! Worth visiting for the choice of beer.
Mike_Oxford - 21 Nov 2018 11:56
Also came in here on 24th July.

Just across the road from the Eagle and Child but much brighter, bigger and open inside but still an old pub from the 1600s. Owned by St John's College (as apparently is the Eagle and Child although that looks like its managed by Nicholsons).

Some tourists but locals and regulars too, chatting happily with the bar staff.

Had a good pint of Butts Barbus Barbus. Not tried this before but have heard of the brewery as its one of the few true organic brewers in the country. Very enjoyable pint but possibly too much body for such a warm day; should have looked more closely at the other three or four real ales that were on! They had two real ciders on, one at around 5% and the other nudging 8% - unfortunately can't remember what they were.

Liked the place and would go back. As others have noted, its cash only.

on_the_brightside - 31 Jul 2018 19:00
Busy pub with good beer (Palmers). Food was OK, but clearly microwaved. They do not take credit cards as a group of American tourists found out to their cost. The staff were somewhat bored and not overly service focused, but efficient enough.
simontheeditor - 9 Jan 2017 16:47
fairly unchanged busy city centre pub with good selection of ales - had the Palmers bitter this visit.
Snarling_Mallard - 8 May 2016 21:17
Tried this pub on Sunday 31/01/21016. Great staff, they let you try all the brews before you buy. I opted for the Palmers Best, spot on. Nice pub, worth a visit.
wolvesfan - 3 Feb 2016 17:57
Good pub for a few tonight. Attentive bar staff, not like the last visit here.
Palmers Best £3.20, Box Steam Brewers Blizzard £3.30
rpf1955 - 14 Jan 2016 18:26
Bored staff reading the paper. When a customer asked for a bag of pork scratchings they were not handed to him but dropped on the bar from what seemed a great height. Must be boring working a Monday night in Oxford.
Palmers Best was good, £3.20.
rpf1955 - 11 May 2015 23:52
Likeable pub with friendly staff and a good range of real ale. I chose something not too raucous Palmers Best Bitter (4.2%) which was pleasant with a dry, bitter finish. Unusually for a food -offering establishment, the L&F was a cash only, but used a computerised till, which crashed!!. The menu was fairly limited, but the barman helped my wife with her gluten/dairy free request, but fell down when they did n`t have any tomato ketchup!! Nevertheless, the oddities aside, a welcoming pub with a good range of ales and pleasant atmosphere.
anarchobeer - 6 Apr 2015 18:05
Busy pub on a Thursday night. sat at the bar as the only seat available. I don't like doing this as it stops people getting served. Turn right as you go in is the best advice, as there is more room. Only had 1 pint as i wanted food and they only serve it at lunchtimes. Palmers Best Bitter, £3.00 and was very good.
rpf1955 - 10 Oct 2014 16:31
Packed out - partly because there's nowhere to drink outside - but deservedly so. The pub's in good condition, even (especially) the loos, and there are plenty of ales to choose from - some at each end of the bar.
Trev - 6 Sep 2014 16:22
This place is rapidly becoming my favourite of all the great pubs in Oxford. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because although it’s directly across the road from the Eagle & Child, and is almost as historic (allegedly featuring in Jude the Obscure), it doesn’t appear to have become part of the tourist trail. My friend, at the end of his first visit to Oxford declared it to be his favourite as well.

As a previous poster has mentioned, the trick here is to turn right when entering. The room and bar adjacent to the street are nothing remarkable, but the further back you go, the older things get. Wooden backed settles for seats and a huge fireplace. [ Not sure if it gets used or not ] In fact on my last visit, I discovered a whole (small) room that I hadn’t noticed before.

The beer is the one thing that I would mark down slightly. Not that there is anything wrong with the quality, and it does serve one of my all time favourites (Theakstons Old Peculier). But if you’re looking for local beer you won’t find it here. The regular beers come from places such as Cornwall, Dorset and North Yorkshire. However, the price is certainly better than some - £3.20 per pint.

The food can also be recommended. There is a limited menu of mostly “pubby” type dishes, but they are definitely cheaper than elsewhere locally, and are excellent. My chilli cost £6.95 – for historical reasons, I ALWAYS eat chilli for lunch on Oxford pub-crawls ! My friend was also very impressed with his ploughmans.

There has always been a good few people in whenever I’ve been there, but it has never been packed out. In general the clientele are very friendly, and the bar staff will even help you with your crossword when they get a chance !

9/10 – pubs don’t get much better than this.

Martinsh - 2 Sep 2014 23:08
The Old Peculier was in tip-top form in here the other day and I had to have another just to be sure!! The front bar is a bit nondescript, but then you go through to the back areas and it feels like a whole different pub, sadly with the furthest area being the best place to sit marred by a massive waft of the loos. Between us we tried quite a few of the offerings and found them all to be in good condition. The food was over-priced for what it was. Having said that, the ploughman's lunches were good and for once I feel I actually made the best choice.
littledrummerboy - 20 Aug 2014 13:20
Of the 3 pubs we visited this had the best pint so it score higher.

We had actually called in because the Eagle opposite was rammed. Wanted something to eat but the menu was uninspiring. The beer more than made up for it.

Sadly I can't remember what it was but it had a lovely caramel aftertaste.
LickeyEndBooze - 2 Feb 2014 20:53
Pub number 5 of the GBG tick fest in one day and to be honest the Lamb was my favorite.

Not as quaint as the Chequers but I really liked the barman's enthusiasm, the feel of the pub and of course the range of ales. No beer festival on but they still have 12 pumps serving 7 different ales, including an offering from Torquay's Bay's Brewery...a cracking brewery with consistently good beer.

Wood paneling throughout, plenty of seating areas and all in all an excellent pub with a good atmosphere.

lezford - 12 Jul 2013 13:48
Good range of reasonably priced beers, including Palmers and Old Peculier. More to it than just a spot for beer cognoscenti though, a very comfortable and welcoming pub.
biggles221 - 4 Jul 2013 20:25
This pub is ok but the Ales never change and the choice is unimaginative. Worth a visit but then go to Far From the Madding Crowd and the Royal Blenhiem for choice of Ales.
Gar - 4 May 2013 18:47
Not much to add to the last review. I ended my Oxford crawl there last week, and made sure I left a good hour and a half to enjoy a couple of relaxing pints. I much preferred it to Far from the Madding Crowd, which despite an interesting beer range somehow lacked the warmth. It's a pub to spend an evening in, and well worthy of any award as the previous reviewer says. You will not be disappointed.
lad_newton - 28 Apr 2013 11:37
A candidate for the best pub in Oxford city centre (in the teeth of tough competition) and certainly knocks the disappointing Eagle and Child into a cocked hat. The back room is darker and better with a couple of cosy crannies and the ale selection exemplary - Betty Stoggs is a regular and the house golden ale another treat. Barring snacks, it doesn't really do food which leaves it free to concentrate on the important things - a ginnel is named after it.
BoehmBawerk - 27 Apr 2013 22:31
we were here on Saturday. 9th June, for the first time. The Palmers was excellent and we enjoyed our visit immensely
grannyboozer - 11 Jun 2012 09:31
Not at all bad, but nothing too special. Nice atmosphere and not as precious as some Oxford pubs.
EricOlthwaite - 27 Oct 2011 13:49
I go there for the very rare Palmers beers from Dorset although my last pint was not as good as I've had before. Change of management perhaps?
mcroyal - 1 Jun 2011 21:45
Pleasant. Busier and better prices than Eagle and Child across the road.
ArhurPint - 16 Apr 2011 13:20
Popped in a couple of days ago for the first time in two years, beer quality has dropped, my Betty Stoggs was somewhat lifeless, hopefully not a regular thing as this was a fine Oxford watering hole
wellinformed - 14 Apr 2011 12:44
Fine pub, in an unspectacular way, not particularly characterful these days but has history - Betty Stoggs always on and in fine form, it is the sole reason for going in.
parmantom - 1 Apr 2011 11:21
The beer was fine, but the staff were surly, and I had my wallet stolen whilst I was there. The staff were far from helpful. They don't take cards. It was an unlucky experience but I won't be going back.
beerminx - 23 Jan 2011 18:50
Great Pub loved the Old Pec and betty stoggs
guestale - 17 Aug 2010 20:28
Nice 17th century pub leading back from St Giles. Unfortunately the bar area has been done up in bright pine which effectively destroys the atmosphere of what ought to be a classic pub. Beer OK. Slightly surly service. Surprisingly quiet although in fairness it is just outside tourist Oxford.
simontheeditor - 26 May 2010 13:33
Nice pub, good selection of beer including several unusual ones for the area. Generally friendly. As with most central Oxford pubs, a high proportion of customers are tourists. Fairly handy for the Pitt-Rivers and Natural History museums.
newbury_drinker - 11 Apr 2010 12:59
Usual selection of beers on yesterday - the Betty Stoggs was excellent. Not that busy for a Friday afternoon. I do wish that they'd turn the radio in the kitchen off or at least down. It's rather distracting when trying to have a discussion at the bar.
cheshirecat - 27 Mar 2010 10:54
Usual selection of beers on yesterday - the Betty Stoggs was excellent. Not that busy for a Friday afternoon. I do wish that they'd turn the radio in the kitchen off or at least down. It's rather distracting when trying to have a discussion at the bar.
cheshirecat - 27 Mar 2010 10:52
unusual to see Palmers beers so far from West Dorset, I presume the L&F gold is standard Palmers gold re-branded for this pub
vinnnie - 12 Feb 2010 17:12
Can't knock anywhere that serves Betty Stogs. And my pint was fine last time I went in.
Great place to come on St Piran's Day if you fancy celebrating the patron saint of Cornwall.
duchyjim - 21 Jan 2010 13:21
This pub is split into two levels with an upper and lower bar. The upper bar has light wood panelling with the shields of various colleges adorning the walls. Three handpumps serving Betty Stogs, Palmers Best Bitter and Lamb and Flag Gold. I had a pint of the L & F Gold, which was a degree or two too warm for my taste.
I initially sat in the lower level, but after a few minutes of listening to two men in labourer's overalls effing and blinding, including referring to someone as an 'f***ing gay prick', I moved back to the front bar. I then made the mistake of ordering food. I had the beef and onion pie (6.95) - the pie itself was fine but the potato wedges were cold and the carrots and brussel sprouts were inedible.
This is quite a nice pub, but the beer was average and the food was well below par.
holbornboy - 13 Dec 2009 23:52
My favorite pub in Oxford , 6 ales ,including Betty Stogs , Brains Dark , Palmers IPA and L&F Gold brewed by Palmers for the pub . L&F Gold and Betty Stogs were great . Good mixture of Students and locals mix happily with tourists . Its the sort of pub that after 5 minutes you feel as if you have drunk there for years .
trenchlad - 15 Oct 2009 15:26
Multi-roomed pubs always get my vote over the soulless open plan style and this busy city centre one also had a good range of ales on. Plumped for the Palmers IPA which was good.
Snarling_Mallard - 11 Oct 2009 13:10
On an all too brief a visit to Oxford, came here 3 times. Dorset's Palmers of Bridport seem to be a regular and they brew a "Lamb & Flag" beer for the pub. Beer excellent and staff knowledgable and friendly. They also stock lager and wheat beer from the Cotswold Brewing Company, brewed with all the right ingredients - extremely refreshing after a "heavy night".
JBGatelad - 6 Sep 2009 19:43
Good pub and part of any pub crawl around the city.
stevet650 - 14 Aug 2009 22:08
A good, straightforward pub.

The beers are varied and in good condition. Can't comment on the food as I've never dined there.

Friendly service and regulars.

You can't go wrong.
griffo59 - 14 Aug 2009 19:15
Classic Oxford pub which is cosy and friendly. Good range of regulars (Spitfire, Betty Stoggs, etc.) at reasonable prices. Look out for the traditional 'drinking hole'! Very popular on Fridays and Saturdays, bridges the town-gown gap. All profits from the pub fund scholarships at St. John's College so drink as much as you can!
Jamco - 9 Jul 2009 15:54
It was OK, the beer was not bad, but not an inspiring range. Not the worst pub in Oxford, and I will try it again, as it may have just been a bad day.
Dylanwing - 14 Jun 2009 15:29
Just wonderful!

I finished a crawl here last night, making sure to leave time to relax over three well-chosen pints.

Vale "Hadda's Spring Gold" 4.6%.
Hoppy and packed with flavour, lingering fruit and hop notes intertwining in a deliciously spectral chord of flavour. Worth pausing between sips to experience the long and satisfying finish.

Skinners "Betty Stogs Bitter" 4.0%
Classic, rounded yet full-flavoured Cornish ale, on its best form with a creaminess of flavour mildly salient over a delicate balance of malt and hop. There were notes of clotted cream in the finish, over which I was waxing lyrical last night.

Vale "VPA" 4.2%
Excellent, refreshing ale, a little above session strength but highly quaffable nevertheless. Hoppy, bitter and flavoursome in many other subtle directions, with fruity notes in the finish.

Sitting at the bar made it very easy to start a conversation and I enjoyed the company of a local drinker named Mike who had a great depth of knowledge and experience to share in the field of beer and pubs.

I was really glad to have finished in the Lamb and Flag, and would also like to comment on the pleasantness of the staff (all of them) and how relaxed the pub was at closing time which for me is very important.

I could easily have revisted the pub tonight and done it all again. I cannot think why I only awarded this pub six points from a previous session. It is everything a pub should be, and worthy of a rare 10/10.

lad_newton - 30 Apr 2009 22:38
A fine City pub. Being the only place in Oxford (that I've found at least) that serves Thatcher's, I'm bound to say this, but the atmosphere is good in the most part, and, if it weren't for the dodgy wood panelling around the front room and bar, I'd be smitten. There's been a couple of sniffy barmen when I've been in, but I'm being picky: This Is One Of The Best Pubs In Oxford.
plymouthpirate - 19 Dec 2008 13:00
What a fabulous pub! I was only going to have one pint, but stayed for two. I wish I could have stayed longer. A fine selection of real ales. A pub which although it has changed a bit over the years looks unspoilt. An ancient Oxford building attached to (and owned and run by) St Johns College.

The Betty Stoggs was superb.
alexw123 - 22 Nov 2008 17:42
After being dragged around ashmolean museum all morning suggested to wife we pop in for a quick pint and a bite to eat , two hours and 5 pints later we left to continue our tour of city , returned in the evening for a proper session , after 5 minutes in here felt like it had been my local for years . Students ,tourists and locals all mix happily , love this pub and have fell in love with Betty Stogs.
oggwyn - 3 Oct 2008 21:51
L & F is just my kind of place. They had a CD juke dominated by Pink Floyd in the late nineties u kno. Good mix of clientele, Old Peculier on draught - it's all good news.
DeepThought - 18 Jul 2008 17:53
You just need to look at my handle as for the reason I visit this place. The Betty Stogs is superb. 9/10
bettystogs - 12 May 2008 12:22
Fairly enjoyable finishing-pub of my Oxford crawl last night. Betty Stogs on fine form. Noted up to four beers available, with two of them regularly-changing guests.

I found the staff friendly and knowledgeable, and enjoyed a good half-hour of amicable conversation with locals around the bar area.

Seemed to be at ease with its town and gown clientele and my overall experience this time was very pleasant.
lad_newton - 23 Apr 2008 19:04
A fairly spacious freehouse with an excellent range of ales available.

Unsure of the service though, and it seems to lack a bit of atmosphere unless you bring your own.

Worth stopping for a pint of Betty Stoggs and/or Old Peculiar, but not my first choice in town.
Quinno - 31 Mar 2008 19:55
7 different cask ales on offer in this rather tidy, upmarket two roomed pub. Palmers is the house ale. Great fireplace at the back. Above average in terms of the beer range, and a well run place, but lacking overall oomph for me.
SilkTork - 17 Feb 2008 00:28
Surprised that some of the reviews are so negative.

Fine cask all - notably, for my taste, the Lamb and Flag Gold, which jas proven an excellent introduction for continental visitors unused to the stuff - and several rooms, so that the pub is rarely dominated by one noisy group. Service generally friendly and fine, and beer prices as sensible as they get in Oxford.

Along with the White Horse and perhaps the Grapes, the best bet in this part of the world.
eddieman - 19 Nov 2007 00:27
A pub that is quickly going down in my estimation. The bar staff tried to rip us off last night and it took quite a while to get our money back, the beer range has become static. What was a wonderful pub is now only average and will be dropped of our future tours of Oxford. Such a shame.
imdownthepub - 16 Jun 2007 07:39
Earlier I gave this pub an 8-ranking. But on our last visit the "braying few" (see previous review) from St John's College were, unfortunately, making their moronic presence felt. So we may think twice about going back to a pub which has the best range of beers in the city. Perhaps lunchtimes is better, when the food is good value as well. Meanwhile, I strongly recommend the licensee clamps down on the small minority who spoil it for a majority.
Braganca - 25 Apr 2007 22:35
A dull, bland pub. Likes to think of itself as quirky and that it appeals to all, but it would be more at home alongside a B-Road somewhere in darkest Glasgow. Far from being welcoming to all it caters for the braying few from one university college, who seem frosty at best (the clientele that is) to outsiders. Saving graces are capable bar staff, good location and decent ales.
Moose82 - 24 Apr 2007 13:11
A very decent and popular pub off the normal beaten track in Oxford. Plenty of room and always friendly. The beer range has become a little unchanging of late and can be variable, but it is certainly one of the better pubs in the town.
imdownthepub - 16 Apr 2007 08:54
This is a great pub, quite small but bigger than you may initially think. It took me several visits before I realised that there is a little area tucked away behind the fireplace. I was so pleased to see that they serve Betty Stoggs due to the fact that i am a big skinners fan after a visit to cornwall several years ago. They also usually serve spitfire as well.
pintofpride - 16 Mar 2007 15:07
Worth going just for the well-kept Theakstons Old Peculier (yes that's the spelling) - in our view the best beer in the universe. Additionally it is a well managed pub, with friendly and attentive staff. At lunchtimes there is excellent bar food, including baked potatoes. The place is packed during university term-time in the evenings - so you might consider the vacations as an opportune time to visit. After all, that is more than half the year.
Braganca - 5 Mar 2007 22:31
Nice variety of ales. A freehouse set up for conversation.
jorrocks - 2 Mar 2007 04:11
Excellent selection of well-kept ales with the Betty Stoggs highly recommended (I might be biased here as a Cornishman). Away from the tourist trail unlike the Turf Tavern so you can normally get a seat, even on a Friday night. Possibly the best pub in Oxford.
DuchyBoy - 11 Dec 2006 18:16
Unusual beers for the area make this pub well worth including in any city centre crawl given its quite central location
JohnBonser - 8 Nov 2006 13:57
Whilst a good freehouse in the habit of serving a wide range of cask beer is hardly a rarity in these parts, it is nevertheless always worth commending to those who rate ale quality as a major draw when the time comes to peruse the clues to choose whose booze to use.
The Lamb offers an intriguing range of ale, and much of it from outside the immediate area - indeed, more of a west-country flavour seems to dominate here. Notwithstanding the distance travelled, in my experience it came up trumps with each sample: Palmers Gold and Skinners B Stogs in particular were on flying form.
I also ate here on my last visit in May: not the best Ploughman's ever, but it was a generous portion, and clearly used good quality ingredients, which bodes well for the menu at large.
Friendly, spacious, maybe a little lacking in atmosphere, but then one can always pop over the road to the Eagle for that. I thought this was pretty encouraging stuff.
TWG - 30 Oct 2006 17:50
Unusual beers, served pretty well. Nice enough decor, with a couple of more isolated rooms. Worth a visit or three since it's conveniently located.
thedts - 5 Sep 2006 02:05
A good choice of real ales in this large, multi-roomed pub. Like the previous reviewer, I had the Skinners beer and it tasted good. Others in my group enjoyed the Palmers, which one doesn't often see around here. Good service.
fromedrinker - 19 Jun 2006 14:45
Visited in April. The Betty Stogs Bitter still takes some beating.
lad_newton - 30 May 2006 20:08
Sadly, I wasn't impressed with this place at all, despite the good-looking interior and general air of a party-pub. The barman was nowhere in evidence when I arrived, and I waited (along with an increasingly large group) for five minutes until he wandered by to see what we wanted. He then, upon hearing my American accent, proceeded to give me a "tourist pint" of Guinness--i.e., one that gets poured in a single go, with no settling and foam an inch-and-a-half thick. This when others who ordered Guinness, presumably people he knew better, were getting the full treatment. I won't bother with the place again--the Eagle and Child is across the street, cheaper, and pours a better pint.
Hodsthorn - 4 Feb 2006 08:45
Palmer's beer was fantastic, the place in general is fascinating, it just keeps on going backwards. Actually owned by St John's college that it's contained within.
swcooper - 18 Jan 2006 02:07
For lager has San Miguel on tap. A pleasant change from the Oxford standard choice of Stella "Wife Beater" Artois and fizzy Fosters.
twiglet - 26 Oct 2005 21:37
Skinners and Palmers guest beers on my visit. Had a good pint of Betty Stogs (2.10).
Rich66 - 11 Sep 2005 01:07
This place has a good mixture of Town and Gown...and for once they seem to get on with each other. Maybe its due to the fact this pub has a warm atmos and chilled our bar staff and reasonably priced beer.
Its more of a night time pub rather then a day time pub....and is it true that it hanted? If so I will be interested to know.

TheWizard - 11 May 2005 02:22
Palmers a bit cold/stale but still good. Quite crowded and celler good in view of uncaring -updeck barstaff-
anonymous - 1 May 2005 22:26
Great pint of Spitfire and nice for Saturday lunch
Acid Sorceror - 18 Feb 2004 09:49
This is one of my favourite pubs in Oxford. Prices are reasonable and it's a nice to place to be, with old buildingy magic.
thegooddoctor - 11 Jan 2004 12:45
Was never the same after St John's took it over, but still an Oxford classic. Beer can be dodgy and the bar staff a bit useless, but it's got atmosphere.
Christian - 31 Oct 2003 12:05
Excellent pub mercifully free of juke-boxes, fruit machines etc, good place for a quiet pint of real ale and a chat. All the profits are now supporting needy graduates of St John's College, which now manages the pub. Great Irish music Weds evenings during term.
Oliver Tickell - 7 Oct 2003 12:44
Ok - not as much character as I was expecting. As with others in Oxford I expect the range of beers is substantially less out of term time
Pete - 11 Jul 2003 13:25
Amongst Oxford's best pubs, this hostelry is low-ceilinged and narrow with three main drinking areas. Up to eight real ales on handpump at any time - try Skinner's Betty Stogs Ale, a regular. The staff are very friendly and have a refreshing sense of humour. I enjoyed three beers last night including Cackham's BISHOPS FAREWELL which was exquisite. This is an institution, and makes a good crawl with the Eagle & Child opposite and the White Horse. Go and see for yourselves!
Lee - - 1 May 2003 09:52

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