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The House

The House

A buzzing young bar in central Oxford with its own games room, private terrace with Philippe Starck sofas and a seriously well thought out cocktail list. The House is an intimate yet lively venue. The bar has attracted plenty of attention since it opened in early 2009, gracing the pages of Vogue, as a fashion shoot location and featuring in Elle magazine’s Top 25 Bars 2010.

  • Address The House, Blue Boar St, Oxford OX1 4EE

One review of “The House”

    Matthew Wright

    2nd November 2017

    Two is usually company, and three might occasionally be considered a crowd, but four is definitely the ideal number for cocktails! So it was that we turned up at The House on a busy Friday evening, all prepped and ready to go. We were a diverse group – a writer, a business coach, an entrepreneur and a designer – so we thought, for a bit of fun, we’d choose each other’s cocktails, to match our respective moods and personalities.

    ‘The House’ does actually feel like home, only a cooler, more designer-clad variation. Cosy banquettes and small mood-lit tables line the long room which leads through to a black granite-topped altar (I mean bar!) – impressive but not overly obtrusive. It feels like a chef’s counter, where you can sit and watch the bartenders knock up one of the 50 or so cocktails from the menu (staff receive up to 4 weeks of training and have to prove to the managers that they know any cocktail off by heart) whilst nibbling on bar snacks such as nachos or hummus.

    The drinks are definitely the main event here though. Being four-strong, we were able to mix and match from across the menu which is helpfully broken down into categories: ‘Sparkling’ (all the fizzy cocktails, such as the Bellini), ‘Long’ (Raspado), ‘Short ‘(Bloody Mary), ‘Straight up’ (Cosmpolitan), and ‘Non-Alcoholic’ (Beach House). There is also a category named ‘Top Shelf’, containing classics such as the Mojito, Martini and Margharita (no, not just the cocktails beginning with ‘M’!) which unfortunately do not receive the ‘Happy Hour’ treatment but, rest assured, there’s still plenty to choose from!
    We started off outside. It was a chill October evening, but the heat lamps burned brightly on the attractively canopied terrace, attracting us like thirsty fire-flies. What better than a spot of people watching along the busy Blue Boar Passage whilst enjoying table cocktail service? Alan (the oh-so-helpful Spanish manager) came out to talk us through the list and advised us of his favourites (a Manhattan…ah yes, that was in the ‘Top Shelf’ category as well come to think of it!). Over the course of the evening, and much deliberation, we narrowed down our favourites – the Breakfast Martini (Gin, triple sec and Oxford marmalade), the Gran Bretagna (a special apricot liquor-based cocktail from the board behind the bar) and the Strawberry Colada for the non-drinkers amongst us (Strawberry, coconut and lime).

    Happy hour runs up until 9pm Sunday-Thursday (8pm on Friday and Saturday), and there is an upstairs room which can hold 70 people, complete with pool table and fantastic views, all available for a reasonable minimum spend. However, if you’re a student it’s even better news – cocktails are discounted all evening Sunday-Thursday…..it’s almost worth going back to studying again!

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