Even though Oxford is not a big metropolis, it has plenty of excellent rooftop bars and places with stunning views. Here are my favourites and why you should visit them in 2023! (Be aware: I’ve included a few Oxfordian bars are not technically on a roof, but you’ll soon see why!).
Are There Rooftop Bars in Oxford?
If you’re new to the city, you might be wondering if there even are any rooftop bars in Oxford – and whether any of them are actually good. The answer is quite simple: YES. There are actually tons of excellent options. Oxford has, after all, some of the most stunning views in the UK. Now comes the subsequent question: How do you pick a good rooftop bar if you’re visiting the city, just moved here, or have been an Oxfordian for a while now?
I created the following list of best Oxford rooftop bars based on three things. The first is the views, naturally. Oxford is my favourite city in the world, and there’s no better way to enjoy its architecture than from some height. Secondly, I reviewed the different drinks offered by the bars. You’ll probably want a good selection of cocktails, wines, beers, etc. Lastly, the atmosphere! This is an essential part of a rooftop bar experience, isn’t it? So, without further ado, here are the finalists for my top Oxford rooftop bars list!
The Alchemist Cocktail Bar & Restaurant
Opening hours: Open Mon to Wed 10 am to 12 am. Thu to Sat 10 am to 1 am. Sun 10 am to 11 pm.
You Need to Try: Any of the creatively packaged drinks!
Why Visit the Alchemist Rooftop Bar?
The Alchemist defines itself as a place where “inquisitive minds find exquisite cocktails”, and to be honest — I think this is true. This cocktail bar and restaurant has a variety of delicious drinks and dishes, all from the rooftop of the Westgate shopping mall. This bar’s design is contemporary and offers cocktails carefully designed to impress. There is both an outdoor roof terrace with a view and an indoor space where you can stay warm during the colder months. Without a doubt, this is a great choice if you’re looking for a stylish and modern rooftop bar in Oxford. Oh, and I forgot: The drinks change colours and are served in test tubes (because, The Alchemist!).
The Varsity Club
Opening hours: Open Wed to Fri 12 pm to 3 pm and 5 pm to 9:30 pm. Sat 12 pm to 4 pm and 5 pm to 9:30 pm. Sun 12 pm to 4 pm. Mon and Tue CLOSED.
You Need to Try: Coffe and cocktails in the cocktail lounge area.
Why Visit the Varsity Club Rooftop Bar?
This independent Oxford rooftop terrace bar is both unique and spectacular. The place offers unparalleled 360-degree views and is open all year round (they offer covers and heating in the winter). On the weekend, Oxford’s Varsity Club also has a dance floor that os open until 2 am o Saturdays and has resident DJs and a mix of new and old-time favourite music choices. Plus, you can also rent this rooftop bar for your own events (fits 15 to 300 guests).
Malmaison Roof Terrace
Opening hours: Call the bar.
You Need to Try: Don’t miss the burgers (there are frequent promos for burger nights).
Why Visit the Malmaison Rooftop Bar?
Malmaison is a roof terrace with beautiful views located in what was a prison once! (The terrace is the prison yard). Today, you can only rent this space for private events but I thought I would include it in this list because it’s both a gorgeous place and one of the “rare” non-Westgate rooftop bars in Oxford. Malmaison is more than a bar; there’s also a beautiful hotel with frequent promotions you can check to find a nice deal. So, a perfect possibility for a unique evening!
The Ashmolean Rooftop Restaurant
Opening hours: Open every day 12 pm to 3 pm for the lunch menu and 3 pm to 4:30 pm for afternoon tea.
You Need to Try: No doubt; try the afternoon tea, it’s the best in Oxford!
Why Visit the Ashmolean Rooftop Restaurant?
The world-renowned Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has a beautiful rooftop restaurant and cafe where you can have delicious food and great drinks. You can, for example, have lunch or afternoon tea while overlooking the picturesque rooftops and spires of Oxford. One important thing to keep in mind: You will need to book for either occasion! There’s some good news for museum members, too: They get a nice 10% discount on the rooftop restaurant and the ground floor cafe.
Opening hours: Open Monto Fri 10 am to 12 am. Sat and Sun 10 am to 1 am.
You Need to Try: The vegan salads, they are excellent.
Why Visit the Victors Rooftop Bar?
Victors is a luxurious escapade covered in wisteria flowers and featuring beautiful views of Oxford. This rooftop bar offers show-stopping cocktails, lunches, dinners, and afternoon teas seven days a week. As you can see in the picture, this place is pretty colourful and unique. Definitely a must-visit if you’re around Oxford and you want a eomrable experience overlooking the city’s spires.