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Far From the Madding Crowd, Oxford

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user reviews of Far From the Madding Crowd, Oxford

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

The last reviewer was spot on with his prediction - the premises reopened last month as a chain Caribbean restaurant.
paul_d102 - 24 Nov 2015 15:03
Farewell to the Madding Crowd which closed on Saturday having opened as a new venture in 2002 down an alleyway on the edge of Oxford's main shopping area. Unfortunately the premises were inconducive to a traditional pub atmosphere but a good selection of ever-changing ales and regular CAMRA GBG listings and local awards helped to maintain a steady customer base. However Oxford city centre, which used to be a bit of a real ale desert, has seen a considerable rise in recent times of establishments offering a wide range of ales which has dissipated the level of trade here over the last two years or so. I suspect it is unlikely to reopen as a bar, more probably as yet another restaurant, and I wish the proprietor Charles Eld a happy retirement.
yellowfever - 3 Feb 2015 11:59
Still a great pub. Shame it isn't one of the Oxford pubs of the year. Super beer and food.
in_the_shed - 31 Oct 2014 20:50
Tucked away in an alley by Tesco local, we circled this pub before we found it. It was worth the effort.

A varied clientele and relaxed atmosphere was a promising feel when we entered. The friendly barstaff were fantastic.

We stayed for at least 4 pints.

Highly recommended.
vicpark - 9 Oct 2014 01:08
Surprisingly quiet on a Friday lunchtime, but then there are a lot of other pubs close by. Very attentive and friendly staff and a good range of beers.
Trev - 6 Sep 2014 16:08
Great beers, which change regularly. They have a policy of keeping one below £3 at all times which is great news for an evening out. There are a group of 4 or 5 pubs which are great real ale visits in the centre of Oxford, and just for the beer this is the best of the lot.

Really well run Pub Quiz on a Sunday night, too.
Oxford_Cully - 15 Sep 2013 20:44
Pub number 4, tucked away down a side alley.

Unlike the other pubs I had visited this day, the Far is more like an out of town estate pub.

Friendly bar staff and customers.

2 lots of 3 pumps, dispensing a range of beers from different breweries. Between the 3 of us we each had a different pint and the satisfaction levels were high.

A great pump clip collection around the bar and the side walls.
lezford - 12 Jul 2013 13:39
Located down a side street off the high street, a open plan pub that sells around 6 real ales all of which were in good condition.

Prompt, helpful bar staff and fairly busy on a Saturday evening.
beershot - 16 May 2013 15:22
Not one of the "oldy-worldy" pubs of Oxford but quite simply, on the basis of Ale, the best. They have one local regular Ale and 6 that constantly change. For me, best of all, it is one of the very few pubs in Oxford where you'll get a Dark Ale. And, friendly staff many of whom know their Ale !
Gar - 4 May 2013 18:32
Visited last week during city crawl. Not changed much since last time. Beer range still interesting, featuring smaller breweries. I rather enjoyed Grafton's Love A Duc. Can't comment on the food as I'd eaten elsewhere beforehand. While I liked the pub, and its friendly staff, I found the rather open-plan layout less attractive than some of Oxford's cosier, more intimate pubs such as the White Horse or the Lamb and Flag. However that's just personal taste and Far from the Madding Crowd is certainly a good pub with a food and beer reputation that speaks for itself, and its place in the 2013 Good Beer Guide is well deserved.
lad_newton - 28 Apr 2013 11:59
Pleasant side street one room real ale pub. More of a bar than a pub , but dont be put off - It was comfortable and friendly with a good selection of well kept ales. Staff are enthusiastic about the ale and this comes across quite clearly.Would certainly visit again.
DiscoJoe - 15 Mar 2013 16:14
Still a great pub, and all down to the hard work and enthusiasm of Dave, Lauren and the staff.

Thanks for continuing to provide a warm and friendly welcome.

Beer festival now on!

in_the_shed - 20 Sep 2012 21:57
Don't understand the comment below about the burgers by Griffo59. I had a burger at the Madding for the first time a few days ago and it was great!

Home-made, big, juicy and well seasoned, much better than the usual crap you get in most pubs. I went for the house speciality, the Madding Special Burger, which comes with cheese, bacon, bbq sauce and an egg on top if you want.

As mentioned, the burger was delicious and I'd definitely recommend the MSB if you need a filling meal to go with your bevvy.
ChaoticReality - 20 Apr 2012 16:44
I went into the far from the other afternoon, with my family visiting for the day, it was a great day to choose as the cider festival had started with something like 12 ciders, as well as the 12 bottled ciders always on offer, and a fantastic selection of ales to go with it, we sat down and perused the list, i chose the Gwatkins farmhouse perry, and my guests had a shandy (bit of a cop out) and various ales, the food on offer was as good as it has always been, plenty on the plate and very tasty, i especially like the liver and onions but, i havnt seen that for a little while, again well done to the staff and management team for winning the city pub of the year, again! and heres to another successful year, well done all concerned, staff and regulars alike.
jonthehat - 10 Apr 2012 15:11
Not sure what's happened here.

The Far used to be one of my favourite Oxford pubs. Not been in for a while and it seems a shadow of its former self.

The place is looking very shabby and tired, which I can forgive. However, the food seems to have taken a nose dive.

Partner and I both ordered 1/4-pound burgers with cheese, salad, chips. What could possibly go wrong.

Apart from the chips being stale and greasy, the salad comprising nothing more than two limp lettuce leaves and a slice of tepid tomato, there was the 'beef burger'.

Whatever this burger was made of, I swear most of it had never seen the inside of a cow. It was like the worst, pappy, flavourless, textureless, excuse for beef I have ever come across. It did not smell, taste or feel like beef - even remotely.

More like a fried patty made from the cheapest sausage meat and breadcrumbs. it was horrible.

Never again, Far. Never again :(
griffo59 - 4 Apr 2012 20:13
Moving to Oxford a month ago, I visited the Madding after reading other BITE reviews of the place, fast became a regular and have to say I have not yet been disappointed. Tucked away in a little alley, it's easy to miss but well worth taking the effort to find.

The beer selection and quality is excellent, with 5 frequently changing guest ales plus Brakspear Bitter as the regular. Being a free-house, the beers are sourced from all around the country by Dave and Lauren the landlord and landlady, with no restrictions as is becoming so common with tied pubs. In the last month I've drank a wide variety, including many from breweries I'd never even heard of (and a green beer, a first for me!).

As well as the great ale choice, FFTMC stocks several draught real ciders, both from founts and from polypins and also a large range of bottled ciders. I'm not a cider drinker myself but several friends I've taken there have been very impressed. They also serve home-cooked food, again well recommended.

Prices are about average for the city centre, around £3.40 for a pint of ale but a special mention has to be made for "Dave's Special", a guest ale where Dave has found a bargain and passes it on to his customers at £2.80/pint.

Previous commenters have decried the atmosphere in the Madding as being a bit "Wetherspoons" but given that the building used to be a warehouse/storeroom for Debenhams, I think they've done a pretty decent job on the interior, with plenty of seating throughout and some pretty comfy sofas!

The staff are friendly, efficient and knowledgable about the wide range of drinks on offer and there's great banter to be had with both them and the regulars, leading to a very pleasant place to spend an evening imbibing.

There's a few things on in the evenings, an open mic on Monday, pizza night on Thursday and a popular quiz + curry night on Sunday.

Overall, if you love your ale, I would recommend the Madding as an essential part of any night out in Oxford, you won't leave anything less than thoroughly satisfied (and maybe a little bit pissed!).
ChaoticReality - 30 Mar 2012 19:58
A curious place indeed as it has the feel of a local's bar and yet is tucked in behind a branch of Debenham's in Oxford city centre. The room is characterless, with indeterminate seventies carpeting and much beige and fawn. Thankfully, the beers - also beige and fawn - are startlingly good - so getting one major thing right elevates this pub to decent status - nice home made pizzas on the night of our visit too + friendly service.
BoehmBawerk - 3 Feb 2012 12:56
Very nice for a modern pub. Excellent choice of real ales which are generally on the expensive side (£3.40), but I think one is always available at a more reasonable £2.80. Recommended.
baxterfish - 14 Nov 2011 19:15
Have to strongly recommend this as the best real ale pub in Oxford which it has been for a long while.


Friendly staff, always smiling, chatty and freely offering samples.

A great range of beers, stouts, porters, best bitters, golden ales etc mostly from small/new micro- breweries. If you do your online research you discover that some of the ales aren't even listed on the breweries websites. A truly courageous sourcing strategy - nowhere else in Oxford comes close.

Great beers including local Brakspear and bottled Shotover beers.

Regular beer (and cider) festivals.

Given the range, reasonable prices especially with Dave's special beer at a reduced rate.

Wonderful food including Thursday pizzas.

Not a traditional pub in decor but certainly in atmosphere: a place for conversation or contemplation, a place where students, locals, commuters and visitors can mingle at ease in groups or on their own.

Loads more probably but suffice it to say it's all down to the staff make this a really special place, in my humble opinion. Thanks FFMC.

in_the_shed - 10 Nov 2011 18:27
Not the 'quaint' type of pub but I really enjoyed my visit here. The beer choice was excellent: Surreal Ale (Abbeydale Brewery) and Equinox (Great Heck?) were superb hoppy beers. The food was basic but very good and ample! BTW re other comments - I often note the beers because there are sooo many good beers provided by ever diminishing pubs like this ... and my memory deserted me at the turn of the century ... or did I ever have one?
uriahheep - 28 Apr 2011 18:57
a great big thanks to dave and lauren for arranging the supply of shirts for the ECLECTICS, and thanks to Brakspear for supplying them, we shall be wearing them with pride at Reading fest.
jonthehat - 15 Apr 2011 10:27
oh what a shame that people who enjoy a beer and have some insight to the beers they like are type cast as a clump of ale oiks, as coined by messres Mc royal and jb gatelad), the bar is spacious and roomy as are the hearts and intentions of the aforementioned folk who populate it, i would venture to say that anybody showing an interest in the various brews on sale would be afforded ample room to see what is on sale, and a ready supply of help and direction for those not so educated in what is what, failing all that then a simple excuse me would more than suffice to allow a clear and uninterupted view of the wares, on the note of people asking for a taster before purchasing a pint, this i earnestly feel is in most peoples books a very understandable course of action to take before commiting to something that may not be to their liking, or am i being pedantic ?
jonthehat - 15 Feb 2011 20:59
As always - great selection of beers often from new micro-brewers. I would agree with JBGatelad about the oiks at the bar ("can I try this and can I try that and I'll just write it down in my beer-spotters book and all that kind of nonsense) but still well worth a visit. Not all real ale drinkers are nerds!!
mcroyal - 9 Feb 2011 21:08
Good selection of beers with the accent on local stuff when I visited. I thought at first it was a bit canteen like but I think it is the windows that detract from what is quite a nice room. Comfy chairs at one end, tables for dining in the middle area and a raised "observation" bench at the other end. Beer was top class - food looked average but probably good value for what it was. The only problem was the learned beer nerds drinking in a clump at the bar, preventing punters from seeing what was on the pumps!
JBGatelad - 5 Feb 2011 10:06
Not the most atmospheric pub in Oxford, but excellent beer selection and friendly bar staff make it my favourite. They usually have a mild on, too, which is A Good Thing.
paul154 - 20 Dec 2010 14:52
Just to say that the pub is well worth a visit at any time but they have a great beer festival at the moment (21st Sept to 25th Sept). Get along there NOW!
Nigethebeer - 21 Sep 2010 16:59
lacale award and now the city pub of the year, only recently did the BBC one show film there with phil tuffnell, interviewing a dignitory about pubs, liscensees etc, and chatting with the customers what a coup, anyway well done again things just keep getting better and better
jonthehat - 10 Sep 2010 15:17
well done to the team, as of last night 17/06/10 the far from achieved the locale award, and i have to say the Blackwater ska is a lovelly pint, tumbling dice at 6% is a nice brew also, i advise you leave the car at home for that one, well done again everyone, staff, regulars, and visitors alike
jonthehat - 18 Jun 2010 08:55
well i have to be honest and admit to my bias here, but for me this is the best pub by far(pardon the pun) i visit in oxford, always good beer, good staff, clientel that are on the whole passionate about what they drink and a lot of knowledge to offer, plus a passion for the buisness from dave and lauren that is infectious, i agree it is a bit spacious and not oldy worldy but it is'nt trying to be, just good honest fare, well worth a visit
jonthehat - 17 Jun 2010 10:31
The more I visit the 'far' the more I like it.

Ok, so it doesn't have much in the way of Olde Worlde charm, but the interior is quite practical - I especially like the raised area to the right of the bar with seating on one side of the table only. Great for when I'm on my own and want to read a newspaper or do a bit of tippy-tapping on my laptop. The far has excellent free wi-fi internet access too.

The beer is varied and always in top condition. Something for everyone's taste.

Service is always friendly and efficient. A friendly crowd with a pretty good local scene. Never too packed, never empty. A worthy winner of POTY.

The Far has now replaced the Turf as my favourite pub in central Oxford. If you're in that neck of the woods, do pay it a visit.
griffo59 - 2 May 2010 16:22
Congratulations...thats all I can say to a great couple who have acheived Camra Pub of the year!!

All the best....Jacqueline (WH)
paphitis - 19 Apr 2010 15:35
Good selection of beer at good prices, often has a mild available. Always seems to be possible to find a seat, but it's never empty. Agree with comments about Wetherspoons-like atmosphere (lack of) but the beer is much better than most 'Spoons do. Food used to be good but on last visit (March '10) had worst chips I have had for quite some time.
newbury_drinker - 11 Apr 2010 13:04
I picked up a copy of The Oxford Drinker and noticed that this pub won Oxford CAMRA's City Pub of the Year award.

So I suppose it's got to be worth a visit for Ale drinkers.

However, have to agree with Mister X in that the pub is more like a Wetherspoons than a quaint Oxford pub.

I'm more of a cider man and due to the lack of atmosphere in this pub during our crawl, I didn't even bother to have a drink here.
Pat_Bateman - 7 Apr 2010 13:51
Not the most atmospheric of pubs but serves great beer! 6 on offer plus a real cider. Brakspears is the regular. Butcombe was Dave's Special yesterday at £2.10 plus 4 other guests at £3.10.
cheshirecat - 27 Mar 2010 10:58
Walked in and thought I was visiting a mini JD "Wether-Hanger" which I guess they can't do too much about, that's just the way the building is. However, the service received was fantastic as was beer advice. The beers I tried were all in sublime condition and the managers £2.10 pint most refreshing to see (and drink!) in an Oxford pub.

No wonder it's won so many awards, probably the best pub in Oxford right now despite it not having the olde world charm of some of it's competitors.
MisterX - 25 Mar 2010 11:28
Second visit here, both at lunchtime and whilst the atmosphere is a bit flat the beer is pretty good if pricey at £3.10 a pint but probably average for Oxford. Seems to get a non student type crowd at lunchtime which is fine with me! Definitely worth a visit for the ale selection. Had "Dave's special" which was Fyne's Maverick at £2.10 a pint and a lovely beer, worth paying the full price for, also tried a half of a dark beer which was good, but can't remember the name. Must mention the food, it is pretty good but the accompanying vegetable portions to the steak and ale pie are pretty paltry in size; a cauliflower floret, half a small thinly sliced carrot and a broccoli spear with an ice cream scoop sized portion of (lumpy) mashed potato.You run of veg long before the end of the pie. One amusing thing, a confusion over our order meant my wife got a bowl of chips not fish and chips (the staff were pretty good overall I should add) - the plate of fish and chips duly arrived but with about half the amount of chips in the original bowl! Why so mean? Someone else got a bowl of chips later which I suspect were the ones delivered to us, reheated! A minor irritant, they wouldn't serve me a second pint in my original glass citing "elf and safety" for giving me a new one - I've managed to survive drinking for 35 years with often the same glass with different ales in all night! I'd still give the pub 7.5 for beer but 6 for food.
Monkdawallydahonk - 16 Mar 2010 09:46
I am not from oxford just studying here i read about this pub in the good beer gilde, This pub was a little quite but the ale was very nice, i can see why it won pub of the year with beer and staff like this,
cuchis - 10 Jan 2010 15:24
Not the most aesthetic of pubs but it serves a decent enough pint. The Evan Evans Winter Warmer went down well. Down an alley off Magdaeln Street (past thr Brazilian coffee shop/bar).
Snarling_Mallard - 30 Nov 2009 22:23
On the plus side - good choice of ales from breweries such as Evan Evans, Dark Star, Bedfordshire, Brakspear, although I thought the chocolate stout (Dark Star) served too warm. They really need to sort out the smell emanating from the Gents every time the door opened very unpleasant wafts came our way, and the building itself lacks any kind of ambience apart from that of a kind of local community centre with hand pumps. The piped Bryan Adams and other such drivel didn't help either.
Like I said, the beer was alright.
Dandillus - 29 Nov 2009 19:38
I won't lie this is pretty much my local if I am in Oxford city centre. The last post mentioned the staff - they are from all over, not just Eastern Europe - some are from East Oxford! Dave and Lauren are the managers now and very nice they are too.

The far from now has a real cider of the week and there is a beerfest coming up in October.

Yes it is a bit of a barn but if you like beer you would go a long way to beat the choice - and no Green King!
lobliebyfire - 24 Sep 2009 15:00
A pretty good pub is the FFTMC.

As the name implies, it's a bit of a bolt hole, down an alley, next to Borders bookshop.

Wide range of ales and I've never had a bad one.

Used to hang and sell some pretty good paintings and photographs on the wall. A sort of boozer cum gallery, but haven't seen the art change for a long while now.

Haven't seen the old guvner there for a while so he may have uped sticks and retired. Staff are (I think) mostly Eastern European, but very pleasant generally.

Worth a visit.
griffo59 - 7 Aug 2009 18:15
Loved it - Great range of beer, very friendly and helpful bar staff and good food. Orkney Dark Island at under £2 was a nice bonus.
Dylanwing - 14 Jun 2009 15:28
Scores very highly for ever changing guest beers, but perhaps could improve if its range of house beer was bolstered a bit. That's nitpicking, but sadly criticism of the interior isn't - this venue wasn't built as a pub and it shows. Overall though, deserves praise for it's commitment to beer.
thomashenry - 24 Dec 2008 11:15
Bit of a real ale gem located down an alley in the middle of Oxford - lots of interesting beers to drink. The 'box like' interior feels like you're in a community hall, but the beer always comes first. Only about 400 metres from my bus stop so pretty much perfect.
Booze_Allen - 8 Dec 2008 17:50
Had a beer festival when I went there, well 6 casks out the back on gravity in addition to the selection on the bar so 12 in all I think. The pint I had was very good although my friend's pint did lack a bit of condition. We had over-sized glasses so top marks for that. Has a modern feel to it and attracts a more thoughtful clientele across the age range.
Abteilung - 7 Dec 2008 14:00
Unusual pub this one, quite a modern feel to it, but essentially an old fashioned drinking pub. Lots of pump clips adorn the wall back of bar, and there is always a good selection of ales. I have only ever had good quality beer in here, even on a Monday afternoon.One of the best ale pubs in Oxford
wellinformed - 20 May 2008 20:56
After reading BITE reviews, decided to try it out one Saturday afternoon (26th April) in favour of the famous old stagers in the area. Was quiet - 6 or 8 punters - but pleasantly so: quite a haven from the crowds outside.

On first sight, a good range of ales on show, a geographically/ stylistically varied selection reminiscent of the Edgar Wallace, which augured well.

Tried a pint of Battledown What He's Having - nose was sharply overpowering and first sip had a distinctly acrid aftertaste. Another couple of sips were all I could muster, but the barman happily swapped it for a new pint, this time of Grindleton LPA, which unfortunately suffered from a similar problem. Managed two sips of that.

Food menu looked fine, but decided to go and eat at another establishment. Barman was apologetic at least. Will re-assess on next visit to Oxford, but was extremely disappointed that 2 of 6 ales were undrinkable. Come to think of it, the few other punters were on lagers or Guinness if I remember rightly.

Just hope this was a blip, as otherwise it made for a welcome retreat.
TheHofBear - 11 May 2008 00:10
Wonderful evening. Paid a timely visit last night. The management have changed since I last called here in 2006; pub seemed quieter and more relaxed/relaxing with any background music on at a very low level. The interior remains unchanged.

A good range of well kept beers on yesterday, of which I sampled the following:

Goff's JOUSTER - 4%
Malt dominating and lingering, slowly easing to a dry finish;

Goff's LAUNCELOT - 4.5%
Sweet with some fruitiness, dry finish;

Oakleaf BLAKES - 5.2%
Excellent dark red ale, coffee notes, burnt smokiness dominating.

Vale BLACK SWAN - 3.9%
Good not great, fairly quaffable session ale.

The Brazilian guys behind the bar are great fun, and if you arrive alone and like good conversation with locals the bar area is the best place to sit.

I arrived after food stopped but an imaginative food menu is offered until 9pm, and certainly "reads" well.

Other features noted are as follows:

A piano in the main low-level area of the pub. This is an upright which needs a lot of work doing but you can "just" get a tune out of it. Live music is not hosted officially but accomplished pianists are invited to play - but DO beware the faults of the instrument.

Four beer festivals are held each year at FFMC. Check with the pub directly for details.

Definitely worthy of visiting again, and I have increased my mark from a 5 to an 8.
lad_newton - 23 Apr 2008 18:58
Enjoyable modern pub/bar in the town centre, located down a small alleyway by Debenhams - which means you won't find it by accident, often a good thing.

Plenty of ale on, and a good selection too with plenty not seen often down south (a couple Elland brewery beers on Saturday), including a stout from somewhere in Scotland. Beer was in pretty good form too.

Food was fair, and staff service was good - we were given an honest waiting time for the food before we ordered, most places would take your cash and then let you sit twiddling your thumbs.

Atmosphere was good, mainly the more mature/discerning punter.

Granted, it might not be the quintessential olde English pub but it does more than enough to warrant regular visits and it's a good place to take non-ale drinkers. I like it and would recommend it.
Quinno - 31 Mar 2008 19:22
Soulless modern cafe style place - corporate and anonymous. An empty cold feel - echoing and vaguely unpleasant. Imagine a Wetherspoon without the - erm - charm and character, and you get the idea. Most Spoons don't have much charm in the first place, but they have it in spades compared to this dentist's waiting room. The only redeeming quality is the beer range, but this is not the only pub in town offering guests, so that is not a big plus.

I did find the veggie sausage and mash to be quite unique and tasty.
SilkTork - 17 Feb 2008 12:11
I love this pub and always call when in Oxford for its excellent range of real ales, and friendly staff. Good food is also available.
gillhalfpint - 15 Aug 2007 10:19
This is the Pub of choice for us on our regular visits to Oxford. The beer is always varied and in very good nick with plenty of choice. The food is always hearty and reasonably priced too.
It can get busy, particularly Thursday and Friday evenings, but it is definitely worth trying.
We love it.
imdownthepub - 16 Apr 2007 08:41
I love the selection of bottled beers they do here (particularly the duvel) though sometimes the barstaff are unsure what they are supposed to be serving and the bar get's VERY busy in evening
tabbycat - 12 Feb 2007 17:34
Had half a dozen beers or so on tap. Beer tried was in good condition, noted most of the beer was in the 3.5 percent strength, which was a little unusual. Maybe it was a one-off. Quite a smokey atmosphere early Saturday evening...then again that will not be a problem after 1 July 2007.
Timmo - 5 Feb 2007 15:53
From the outside, it looks modern and uninviting but do go in - a Real Ale drinkers paradise with several beers always on the go with many and varied rotations. And the Landlord takes real pride in his pub and his beers.
A pub in Oxford that regularly serves Real Mild and Stout !
Also has regular live music and the Landlord sets up his own Beer Festivals a number of times during the year.
Gar - 10 Jan 2007 19:56
Good range of bitters (has it's own beer festival). can get busy at lunchtime.Piped music is a downfall. Wheelchair access.
oxfordboy - 29 Dec 2006 16:24
Very good beer, but it was too cold in there. Why not turn the heating on November?
Fiery_Jack - 15 Nov 2006 22:36
For what it's worth (and that mightn't be much seeing as I've only visited this place once to date), I can appreciate why some felt it might've been a chain outlet, but really this is surely off-set by the large and broad range well-kept cask ales, served with aplomb by a largely friendly set of bar staff. Granted, if you're not a real ale buff then perhaps this pub might seem less than exceptional, but it is a lively and spacious outlet with a genuinely mixed bag of punters enjoying its wares. It is certainly more than worthy of a stop on any Oxford crawl; indeed, quite a lengthy stop if you want to sample a decent number of the beers.
TWG - 30 Oct 2006 17:30
It saddens me to read comments such as the last one. This is not meant to be a forum for revenge attacks following staff dismissals. Anonymous, this pub is everything you said it is not! Fabulous pub, fine real ale and a cracking team to run it! Best of all, we have fantastic customers too! I can see why you did,nt like it!
ourpub - 1 Oct 2006 21:09
Just awfull!!! the worst bar i have been to for a while, bright, badly run, bad beer the list goes on.
anonymous - 29 Sep 2006 16:23
Uncomfortable bar which massacres good Northern beers.
thedts - 5 Sep 2006 01:50
If you want to meet the locals while enjoying a good meal, then a pub called Far From the Madding Crowd is worth the effort to explore. Here you will meet a good local crowd from nearby theatres, shops and businesses often having lively debates about todayís issues.
nicnewman - 6 Jul 2006 11:05
Walking in, one might be forgiven for thinking it had a chain pub feel (I think it is an ex-shop). Once at the bar, however, I was impressed to see several West Berkshire beers along with guest ales, and given the time would happily have stayed for several pints. Recommended.
fromedrinker - 19 Jun 2006 14:48
A very nice pub. Great beer and the friendliest staff I've come across for years. They also have some excellent live music events, I would thoroughly recommend it.
kerrcarter - 2 May 2006 11:23
Great session here as part of a "crawl" on 21/04/06. The beers were variable; Black sheep was actually rather better than one of the guest beers I tried. Gets packed on a Friday night, but if like me you persevere, you will find a seat. Some of the punters are quite friendly and will chat to you which is pleasant if you are visiting alone for any reason.

lad_newton - 25 Apr 2006 19:27
When this opened I thought it would be the perfect town pub- excellent beer (local and foreign), good fresh food, not too noisy, non-smoking area.
Then the beer quality nose-dived and they lost their interesting guest beers, the food stopped, and the staff looked like they'd just walked in off the street. Very sad.
mrbuffy - 19 Jan 2006 17:47
Good range of real ales; had a pint of Black Sheep that was a bit iffy, but also sampled a Stonehenge beer (can't remember which of their many seasonal & special edition beers it was) and that was fine. Pub had a "modern" feel without being overly "trendy" - decent jazz/blues background music.
Rich66 - 11 Sep 2005 01:11
Apparently it has been a bit rocky over the recent months but having been in a few times lately it seems to be turning round. The food is really great, they do fantastic British favorites in generous portions and the service has really picked up. The quality of the beer and the atmosphere are getting back up to the levels pre management changes.
anonymous - 18 Aug 2005 12:38
Keeps beer well. Not stale nor cold.
anonymous - 1 May 2005 22:22
with regard to the last comment, i think this pub is going through a much needed tidy up, the manager I think has trained the staff to a much higher level and I have watched with interest the food improvements and the high professional standards bieng introduced.I think this pub will go from strengh to strength as the wheat is cut from the chaff. In the past us locals have become too comfy and none of us want to see our pub change however we can only support the new team here and hope it stays as good as it has been.
bartaker - 6 Apr 2005 16:14
This used to be one of my favourites pubs, but I understand this pub has had a disappointing change of management recently (Dec 04) so it we'll have to see what it changes into.

So far, its no longer possible to go for their delicious food in a lunch hour as the service has slowed right down, women have been hassled by other pub clientele spoiling the safe atmosphere it used to have, and the new landlord himself does not seem keen to support his staff or previous regulars. Perhaps he has plans to get rid of them and create a new atmosphere for the place...??..

Interesting to see if anyone else had noticed this downturn and if anyone can suggest somewhere similar that all of us from work can go to instead
beerbad - 6 Dec 2004 12:11
Had lunch there today, it does a great chicken pie and mash with veg. It is one of the best pubs in Oxford City Centre, a good place to talk, meet friends and even some of the pictures on the wall are good. Thank god they change them every month. Good place to talk and not be drowned out by over loud bad pop music. Today the scene shifters from next door were having a laugh about what the actors were doing back stage. Whats good about it is it is not your typical student or tourist pub, it is something else, a place for us locals.
Nicholas Newman Editor - - 8 Nov 2004 23:51
One of my favourite pubs in Oxford, interesting art for sale on the walls, the friendliest bar staff and nice relaxed atmosphere. The perfect place for a catchup with an old mate, but not the place to start a massive night out, but then thats what keeps the yobs out and attracts the clientele that make it the pub it is.
anonymous - 20 Sep 2004 21:01
This really has to be the worst pub in town. It is far too quiet by far and is always empty. They could do with livening it up a bit!
Peter - 12 Aug 2004 22:27
The only thing wrong with it is that it has to shut at 11:30pm!1
Anonymous - 12 Jun 2004 18:35

I visited on GBG recommendation yesterday (19th April), intending to swiftly sample one or two halves. I ended up staying till closing time.

A constantly changing range of real ales from small regional and micro-breweries is supplimented by a selection of belgian bottled beers. Food stops at 8pm weekdays and 5pm weekends.

"Stan-the-Man" is very friendly and entertaining behind the bar, and the beers are well kept.

Occasional impromptu accoustic live music played at weekends; the pub is shortly to apply for an entertainments licence in order that regular music sessions become the order of the day.

The walls and windows are bedecked with photographic and graphic art which is for sale.

This pub is amongst the best in Oxford and is well worth a visit.
lad_newton - 20 Apr 2004 10:50
This is a quality proper drinkers pub, music isn't too loud so you can chat huge selection of beers etc and good staff. This is how pubs should be.
hongkongdave - 21 Feb 2004 04:14
Although the pub has not been open for two years yet (as of Jan 2004) the Madding has quickly become my pub of choice in Oxford. High standards for beer, very good staff, interesting artwork displays and gentle music. Also includes thought out touches such as a bookcase for those of us who want to relax by ourselves in the corner. Of the bar, of course.
laura_sheep - 8 Jan 2004 11:21
Quiet friendly pub in the center of Oxford in the alley between the Gloucester Arms and Borders bookshop.

Features art displays which change every few weeks, occasional mini-beer festivals, performances (e.g. poetry, music).

Has 3 hand pumps for guest beers as well as the regular Timothy Taylor's Landlord and Black Sheep. A selection of Belgium and German bottled beers. If you don't want to drink beer then they have fair-trade tea and coffee. Good food is also served.

Background music is played at a low volume.

This is an excellent pub if you want to relax over a well served beer in a pleasant quiet environment.
Steven Green - 6 Dec 2003 11:03

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