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About us

It can be difficult to distinguish truth from myth when it comes to discussing the Oxford Bar, but one aspect of its history, which is all-too-often ignored, is its significance as a watering-hole favoured by Scottish writers and artists, a tradition dating back to the 19th century, although it’s been drawn into the public eye more recently by the Ian Rankin ~ Inspector Rebus connection.

Prior to which, the pub’s literary fame resided with the late – and legendary – Willie Ross, whom many of the Scottish Renaissance writers were wont to visit when they felt that they were becoming something of a side-show for the literary voyeurs in the Abbotsford and Milne’s bars.

One of the best known of this group, Sydney Goodsir Smith (no mean drinker!), once found himself – on a hungover Saturday morning – badly in need of refreshment. Somewhat unsure of his immediate surroundings, he wandered into what looked like a bar and – reassured by its open brass fittings – ordered a large drink. The look on the bank teller’s face must’ve been worthy of note but Sydney told the story against himself for years afterwards. No doubt he would have approved of a local’s observation as The Ox being “the only pub I know with an emergency entrance”.

The Ox’s tradition of attracting writers and artists continues to the present-day (Ian Rankin included, who pops in now and again), along with the broad spectrum of customers who make the Oxford Bar what it is and always has been: a real pub for real people.

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Pub reviews




6 months ago

What a place. If you’re looking for a pub that isn’t full of neds or weirdos, come here. It’s quiet, relaxed. Would also be a good place for a pint and studying, it’s got the right atmosphere for it. Bartenders are polite and are friendly enough for conversation but won’t talk your ear off.

Eric Murphy

7 months ago

Hadn't changed in the ten years since I was last there fantastic to see . Great staff, great atmosphere great ales ,a real pub not enough off these places left ..

Emma McBain

7 months ago

We went in for a quick drink, got talking and ended up staying for over 4 hours!! Fab wee bar. The Rebus/Ian Rankin connection is a great draw but as a bar it's fantastic. The staff who were working (2 females) were so friendly and welcoming.

Juliana Corriveau

9 months ago

We stopped in for a pint and had a lovely experience with Becky! So much fun to hang out at the bar with her and hear about pub life and life in Edinburgh. Plus the scotch and pints were top notch. She gave us great recommendations and service. We will gladly be back the next time we're in Edinburgh!

Frank Crowe

10 months ago

It is a straightforward bar with beer, whiskies and a few other spirits. Crisps are available. You can stand at the trench bar or go into the lounge. Bar staff do things properly and make sure the beer is good.

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