Banbury Beer Guide: Your Banbury guide to beer, beer bars, breweries and brewpubs

Latest reviews from Banbury

84 /100 4A CHURCH LANE
“It’s a very quaint, friendly place. Quite relaxed and cosy. Good selection of beer. I’m not in Banbury often, but when I am, I come here 😊“
Jefferson12 423 days ago
80 /100 4A CHURCH LANE
“The newest addition, May 2019 opening, to the Banbury beer scene, it occupies the site left by the recently closed Old Town Alehouse. This is a very different venture to the previous occupant in that there is no cask available. You will find up tho 6 Craft Keg lines with a selection of carefully chosen beers from around the UK, thirds are available, it also doubles up as a bottle shop with cages and fridges stocked with a selection of beers, a list is available of what is on offer. It is bijou in character and a little steamy on a cold May Friday night, pretty full and friendly. Mixed seating and tables, all 7 of us managed to get round a table though with no effort. Wishing Rob good fortune with his project, it is well worth a visit.“
imdownthepub 709 days ago
“Bustling pub in centre of Banbury. Good selection of Hook Norton brewery beers on handpump. Since it was a Saturday evening most other guests were dining - food looked & smelled good. Efficient staff & my pint was well kept. Would visit again if in Banbury.“
moleha4 742 days ago
68 /100
Slurp (Beer Store)
“I visited Slurp Wednesday 13th June 2018. It is located on the Tramway industrial Estate and has plenty of parking opposite. So whilst not so close to the town centre it is however quite close to the railway station and Morrisons.

Inside its a decent size place, rectangular with a horizontal configuration as you enter. As it is the retail arm of SH Jones it is mostly wines and spirits but on the backwall off to left of the counter can be found a modest selection of beers both traditional and craft. I managed to pick up a 4-5 beers all but one were new ones from the likes of Cloudwater and Northern Monk (Patrons Project), the prices were slightly above what I am used to paying but still ok. Service was friendly and seemed completely unfussed as I took my time whilst checking the beers on Ratebeer. I wouldn't suggest folk go out of their way to visit, however if you're close by then it's probably worth checking out, I'll pop by from time to time. Let's not forget the wine selection is great and they have a very large range of gins amongst the spirits. “
Fin 1025 days ago
“I visited here back in December 2017 with some old schoolfriends. The Auctioneer has always been a popular pub but I have to say never really been on my radar. Even under previous guises many, many years ago such as when it was the Flying Horse we usually gave it a swerve. In terms of location it's pretty central, it's close to the Reindeer on Parsons Street.

It was very busy on this occasion, however service was swift and whilst the beer choice was very limited my beer was in good condition. Popular with all ages it is is definitely a circuit pub. It has lost much of its soul as it had been completely knocked through. The bar is on the right as you enter there is a slightly raised area on the left at the rear. It's not a bad pub it's just there are much better around.“
Fin 1119 days ago
“Old pub on the Parsons Street run in Banbury, very popular with the younger set in town, particularly for food. I have been drinking in here since the early 70's on and off, it used to be the best bet in town, now nowhere near for beer choice. It has been all knocked through now, big and bustling. There is a large outside patio at the rear for fairer days and a pay & display car park. Not somewhere I would choose to drink regularly but sometimes to pop in.“
imdownthepub 1157 days ago
84 /100 4 SOUTHAM ROAD
“Feb '18 rating - 84. This has now been going for nearly a year now and has fitted into the Banbury beer scene very nicely. There is always a special welcome in here, it's comfortable, very friendly with a constantly changing range of beers. Great place.
Feb '17 rating - 78. Very early days for this new Micro Pub, I was first through the door and first served on their opening day. Very friendly and welcoming on this new venture in an ex Bailiff’s offices. As you walk in the casks are in front of you on a stillage in quite a small room, you order your beer here then walk through and there are a couple of rooms, knocked through with comfy chairs and handy tables. The beers are currently from reasonably local breweries although plans are afoot to extend the reach. No food other than snacks, but that should work here. Good luck to some really nice people that have set this up as it is a great addition to the beer scene in Banbury.“
imdownthepub 1172 days ago
“This is the latest iteration of a pub that Marston’s have struggled to make popular, possibly with phase 3 of the shopping centre it may attract more customers. It carries a pretty basic range of Marston’s regulars on both hand pull and keg, the surprise coming in the fridge behind the bar, where they have a range of London Beer Factory cans on the bottom shelf, pretty unusual for these parts. It has 2 bars, one a basic affair with multiple television screens, the other is for eating, not tried, there is a pleasant patio area to the front. Hard to say how it will do at present.“
imdownthepub 1390 days ago
64 /100 4 BUTCHERS ROW
“This pub, as Fin says below, used to be a regular on the Banbury circuit in my youth, it was a proper Irish pub at the time with a fantastic Irish Landlady that stood for no nonsense in her place. Unfortunately She has long gone and the pub has struggled to find an identity since, particularly with its food lead push. Yesterday, on our latest visit, it was relaunched as Banbury’s first ’Craft Beer’ pub, so we thought we would take a look. It does have a few keg beers on, mostly Hook Norton along with Brewdog Punk, so they haven’t really gone head first all out into this at all, it’s hard to distinguish it from other pubs really. The new staff have created a relaxed atmosphere though, no loud music, plenty of seating and efficient service. We will keep popping in from time to time but I doubt that it will be a regular.“
imdownthepub 1472 days ago
62 /100
Three Pigeons (Restaurant)
“Having just popped into the new Micro Pub (Bailiffs Tap) next door we felt that we should nip in here on the way back into town. The Three Pigeons is just north of the town centre on the busy crossroads junction of North Bar, Southam Rd, Castle St and Warwick Rd. Its an attractive looking pub with honey coloured stone and thatched roof. Interestingly the level of the pub sits below that of the surrounding roads and pavements, such that you have to step down into the pub. I’m guessing that there is access from the rear for less abled folk.

It’s been a very long time since I’d been in here (over twenty years ago) and it has certainly changed a lot though I must say looked very smart. It’s very nicely furnished with good quality tables and chairs, lots of original features such as wooden beams, stone flooring, it’s an attractive pub. The bar is centrally located with seating (mostly laid out for diners) scattered all around. Whilst it wasn’t so busy today there were a few folk in here today with a mix of those in here just for a beer and those eating.

Beer choice was a tad disappointing with just Doom Bar and Purity on offer. I quite liked this place however I think I would be more inclined to come here for a meal than for a beer, having said that I never checked the prices or quality but I suspect it will be pretty decent. I believe that there is a patio and parking at the rear.“
Fin 1504 days ago
68 /100 4 SOUTHAM ROAD
“We popped in here on Sunday 5th March 2017. Its pretty straightforward to find as its located just a little north of the centre of town just past the busy cross roads junction of Warwick Rd, Castle St, Southam Rd, North Bar and is located just at the start of Southam Rd, next door to the Three Pigeons.

Its fairly simple looking from the outside and as Glen mentions looks a little like what it used to be i.e. an old office. Inside its surprisingly bigger than you expect, the front room houses the business end of the operation, i.e. beers and ciders etc, you then move through to a further room which along with the back room is simply furnished with an assortments of different seats, carpeted throughout and very little else. The service was excellent, and the staff were very friendly, prices were reasonable and beer quality very good. Beer choice focused on local producers just over the border in Northants, Phipps and Towcester Mill on this occasion, so fine but not terribly exciting.

As much as I liked this new addition to the beer scene in Banbury I cannot help but think that it could be hugely improved. I think that I would have had the beers place in the middle room, why? When it is quiet as it was on Sunday, you feel quite isolated at the rear, it just seems a little odd. Also I wouldn’t have carpets and would replace these with tiled, wooden or stone flooring, it still seems like an office or room in someones house. I would also go for proper tables and chairs, the ones in here are a little odd, I’m all for mismatched furniture but this is a pub and some of the tables are really just like occasional tables and with an assortment of games in here a higher more robust table would be preferable.

Back onto the beers, a further suggestion. It might also be worth considering getting pins to expand the choice whilst not increasing volume, and maybe if they did this they could look at getting one or two beers from further afield and beers that are a little more unusual rather than just trad bitters, lets face it everyone else is doing traditional stuff in Banbury, believe me I spent all afternoon yesterday trying to find a remotely interesting beer and failed miserably. So I think that there are positives but in order to survive and prosper I would try to market myself as being a little different from the pack and whilst this is, its not different enough to warrant me coming here regularly. I guess it will appeal to the CAMRA crowd (and I am a CAMRA member of about 30 years) but I think that I would also try to think about appealing to younger folk as in my experience at attending CAMRA festivals and pubs the average age is getting steadily older, so maybe a keykeg or two as well, beer will last, profit margins very good, and you can get stronger more diverse beers. Just a thought, but I wish them well.“
Fin 1505 days ago
88 /100 4 SOUTHAM ROAD
“Visited Bailiffs Tap early Saturday evening. From the outside the front room appears basic but upon entering noticed two further rooms nicely decorated and table / chairs.Range of 4 ales from the cask available with dark and pale selection. Table service is offered and very friendly licensees . Good atmosphere and ambience. Understand the beer range may increase once the business has become more established. Great addition to Banbury beer and pub scene. Based on my first visit can defiantly see this pub becoming my local. Phil Taylor“
PhilTheRealAle 1513 days ago

I visited The Mill Arts Centre on Tuesday 7th June 2016. This is another place that I’d been to before, in fact I’d been here many times over the years since it opened mostly to see gigs, though in recent years not for a while I guess. The Mill is situated alongside the canal in fact these days with the large scale development of this area that took place it is now hemmed in between the Oxford Canal, River Cherwell, the A4260 and sits behind the shopping centre and is just along from the Spiceball Sports Centre. In my day (when I lived in Banbury) it was simply a walk through the bus station and there it was by the canal.

I sat outside and reminisced thinking of gigs I’d been to, friends I don’t see so often, and how this area looked 25-30 years ago, it may be developed but it’s still a nice spot by the canal. But then a dog having a shit by a tree opposite sort of shook me up from this reminiscing lark. The Mill is quite an attractive brick building, originally a grain mill producing flour it now houses gigs and theatre productions it also does a lot of work locally linking in with disabled and mental health support groups, MIND for instance have used this place frequently.

The bar is off to the RH side as you enter, a few chairs and tables around here offer seating options though if it’s nice like today you can sit outside. The floor is stone and beyond this room other areas areas where you can also sit have art displays on show.

The beer choice was a little disappointing considering this place has in the past been shortlisted for the North Oxon POTY award. Two from Hook Norton and Purity were all I could see. There was a table of ladies inside, a couple of whom were sat marvelling at one of the younger person in their groups description of what the Internet can do for you. The young chap serving was fine and offered a smile, I suspect he would have liked a chat with me rather than hear all about the Internet but I wanted to sit outside. The beer was in good condition, a touch warm but otherwise fine.

Fin 1775 days ago
58 /100 135 BLOXHAM ROAD,

I visited The Easington on Tuesday 7th June 2016. I’d been here before but not for many years, in fact it was around Christmas time, my dads birthday Boxing Day 2004 as it was the day of the Tsunami. My dad who lived close’ish to here has lived in Derbyshire for the last 10 years or so, so we’ve not had reason to revisit. The Easington is a large Estate pub it is on the corner of Springfield Avenue and Bloxham Road in Banbury and would be a 25-30 min walk from town I’d guess.

As estate pubs go this is one of the better ones. It has always had a reputation for keeping a good pint and is regularly seen in the GBG, it’s in the latest edition. However for a free house the beer choice considering they have 7-8 cask beers is a little unimaginative, with the likes of Bass and 6X dominating in fact it is an Ember Ales pub so how can it proclaim itself as a freehouse on the outside? I had an Ember Ales brewed by Black Sheep Brewery, the beer was in good nick but just tasted a bit like a throwback to the old days.

Inside the pub is tidy, it’s a bit safe decor wise, too many creams and too many carpets, a few flashing fruit machines, it all looks like every Ember Ales pub would probably look like. However there is plenty of seating about and it was doing a good trade in food which meant my wait for either one of the two bar people was held up as I waited for people to order food, which was tortuous as one lady was utterly indecisive when choosing a side option for her meal and one chap wanting to know all about his burger, ’How big is the burger, does it come with salad because if mine comes with salad it’ll be going straight back’ There is a good sized car park if you are driving here and back into the pub there is a garden out back which would have been the better option today.

All in all its absolutely fine, the beer was in good condition, I could have opted for Hook Norton Lion, staff were friendly, it’s fine.

Fin 1776 days ago
52 /100 135 BLOXHAM ROAD,
“Well I am finally getting round to adding the pub that is closest to where I live and where much of my younger life took place. My first bought pint was in here at 15, my 18th birthday do was in here, all my girl friends were brought into here at so point, several of my mates had their wedding receptions in here. Of course that was the Seventies and it has changed considerably, most wouldn’t recognise it as the same place, so much so that despite it being 5 minutes walk I rarely visit now. However; I did so yesterday and despite having a lump in my throat about lost times and people and events, I find it somewhat plastic and bland now. It’s pleasant, airy and busy, that’s why M&B have it as an Ember Inn, but it’s not The Easington of our memories, which was amazing.“
imdownthepub 1833 days ago
62 /100 49 HIGH STREET,
We visited here again on Sunday 5th March 2017 This place seems a little busier than normal, however I understand that the other JDW in town (Fleur de Lys) is no longer a Spoons so perhaps increasing the traffic to this site now?. Some of the conversation from a group of 60+ year old male and female drinkers was a little too loud and not really appropriate. These were a group of heavy drinkers and smokers who we’d seen earlier as we walked past the Swan and they looked merry then. Looking around there were a few lonely souls deep in their own thoughts. Maybe it was just the time we visited but it did seem a sadder and more depressing place than I recall, however, perhaps sitting by the bar wasn’t a good move, we normally sit near the front by the windows. Aside from this I haven’t really noticed much in the way of change, prices still excellent choice fine enough, its ok I guess. Score 62

Previous rating for The Exchange was for a visit on Tuesday 8th December 2015 . Of course this is a pub that I had visited many times before over the years. I guess for many this pub regardless of what people think of a Wetherspoons has been a reliable mainstay of the Banbury drinking scene for quite a while now.

The pub is located on the upper end of the High Street a short walk from Banbury Cross. It’s got a sturdy, solid look to it (formerly the towns main post office) and is a reasonable sized establishment.

On entering there are good sized seating areas off to both the left and right hand sides and ahead up a step or two the raised area stretches back with further seating in small cubicles on the LH side and between the supporting pillars there are a few high tables probably designed more for those just drinking. It stretches back quite a way, and this area also house the bar on the RH side, I guess that the pub is T shaped, the top of the T and widest area being at the front. Interestingly I am not sure about disabled access as it has steps at the front entrance.

Beer choice is fine enough with ten handpumps dispensing a varied choice, on this occasion with North Cotswold and Vale amongst the offerings the choice had a local flavour. Service was swift and prices as you might expect were also good. I quite like this JDW, maybe just because I quite like the building, but it’s certainly the better of the two offerings in town. Score 66

Fin 1956 days ago
60 /100
Grosik Euro Supermarket (Grocery Store)

I popped in here albeit briefly en-route to a few quick halves before catching the train back home on Tuesday 8th December 2015. I hadn’t even been here before and if truth be told hadn’t really ever noticed it quite prominently placed at the top end (Cross end) of the High Street.

It was quite popular when I visited and I have to say it was a bit bigger than I expected, its relatively narrow, typical layout with fridges and shelving all down one side a tall central shelving rack running all down the centre with occasional breaks to nip through to the other side and the counter on the LH side near the front.

Whilst I didn’t have a good gander around I didn’t notice that the beers were anywhere other than the fridge section which can be found on the RH side as you enter. There were a number of Eastern European offerings available and I guess that I could have added to my Polish or Lithuanian rates quite easily as I didn’t recognise any of the beers on offer, one of which was worth buying only for the fact that it had some random picture of Penelope Cruz emblazoned across the front. However I never purchased as I was rather laden down with work stuff already.

I didn’t check the prices but Glen will be right with his review below and so I guess they are quite cheap. Not a huge choice but to be fair if you are knocking up an Eastern European feast and was in here for food (great food range btw) then it would be worth getting a couple of bottles or cans to compliment the dishes being prepared. I will pop in here again and pick up a bottle or two. “
Fin 1958 days ago
68 /100 4 BUTCHERS ROW

I visited the Coach and Horses on Tuesday 8th December 2015. This pub used to be an occasional nip into on the circuit when I was much younger with the crawl in those days taking in The ’Sheaf, The Cross, Unicorn, Bennetts, Buck and Bell, and here White Lion and the Woolpack were three occasionals but always finishing off back in the ’Sheaf. So it had been a long while since my last visit though I had visited a couple of times since I’d moved away from Banbury and can remember that it had gone through previous refurbishments and changes in ownership, but it is now a Hooky pub which to be fair has been the case for some years as I recall.

The pub is very centrally located in fact you would have to say that it is really slap bang in the centre of town. It’s located on Butchers Row which is small arm off of the High Street (after the section where the High Street is pedestrianised). Butchers Row leads onto the Market Place.

It has changed markedly since I last came in here and yet it had been refurbished at least on one occasion on my last visit back then (maybe approx’ 10 years ago?). Previously as you entered the bar was ahead, however now it is off to your right allowing more tables and chairs for diners I guess. There does appear to be a focus on food, but I just had a beer and wasn’t asked if I was eating so clearly they are quite happy for people to just pop in for a beer, though it was quiet with just a young couple and tiny baby the only others in here and they weren’t eating either. The floor appears to be wooden throughout it might be a good quality laminate I never really inspected but it looked solid wood. The colour scheme is reminded me of Angel Delight Butterscotch flavour though I bet they would describe it as some sort of warm Morrocan colour scheme. There really is lots of seating throughout with further seating at the rear.

Four hooky handpumps with Hooky, Old Hooky, Twelve Days (the seasonal offering) and Cotswold Lion on offer. As I look around the signage and colour scheme reminds me of those Pumpkin Café bar places that you see at some of the mainline railway stations. Back to the beers there was also some Keg offerings nothing particularly interesting other than some random stout, though feeling festive I went for a Twelve Days instead.

I quite liked it here the barman seemed a nice chap, the music selection was an interesting and a somewhat random Christmas music selection with Shop Assistants, The Darkness and Boney M, bonkers but at least it managed to avoid the usual Christmas suspects. I would definitely pop in here again if I just fancied a pint of sumnat’ Hooky, it’s certainly better than either of the two JDW pubs and the beer was in good condition.

Fin 1958 days ago
“Visited on a Tuesday afternoon in October 2015. The long sign overhanging the middle of e street beckons you in to this this lovely old Inn situated in he heart of Bnabury town centre. A bank of hand pulls welcome you in, beers from the Hook Norton range, beer was well kept, service nice and friendly, plenty a of comfy chairs to relax in and watch the world go by. Prices were a little steep. Paid £4 for a pint. Nice spot.“
WingmanWillis 2001 days ago
64 /100 49 HIGH STREET,
“A Wetherspoons that was one of the very early regional Spoons making good use of a building that used to be the old Post Office, I remember well having to queue up in here to get tax discs etc. so not that much has changed really. As regional JDW’s go this is pretty decent, it is currently well run by a good young team, not something that could always be said in here. We have been visiting this for 20 years now and we have seen the good and bad sides, so it is happy times at present. Always the better pub for beer choice and quality but it does attract some of the areas ’characters’.“
imdownthepub 2026 days ago
60 /100
Three Pigeons (Restaurant)
“Previously this was a struggling Pubco owned boozer which has now been privately bought and renovated to a high spec. The emphasis is now on high quality food, which has a good reputation locally, but there are spots where drinkers can squeeze in. There are generally 3 well kept ales on tap, one of which will probably be from a local micro.“
imdownthepub 2354 days ago
72 /100 50 - 52 NORTH ST.
“Jul ’14 There is a definite policy of bringing in new guest beers, many from the East Midlands where the new Landlord hails from. The quality is pretty decent, the pub just needs more punters.
In January 2014 White Horse Brewery pulled out and left Everards as sole owners of The White Horse. Some White Horse Brewery beers will remain for a while.
Comfortable revamped pub with a retro faux pub feel, plenty of White Horse beers to try plus an Everards and 4 rotating guests, maybe not of a really exciting choice though. The food had not started on the last visit, it looks pricey from the looks of the menu though. A good addition to the local scene, hopefully it will take off.
imdownthepub 2469 days ago
“This is more of a Theatre bar than pub, however it is open to the Public at all times. The Mill has been going for many years, but this bar has recently been improved on the beer front to the extent that it is currently in North Oxfordshire Camra Branch top 6 for Pub of the Year marking. The beer range isn’t extensive, on our visit yesterday there was Hook Norton Bitter plus 2 guests from Skinners, but is well kept. Food and snacks are available. A very pleasant place to hang out, particularly when the sun is out and the narrow-boats are working their way through the lock. Worth a visit.“
imdownthepub 2996 days ago
60 /100
Grosik Euro Supermarket (Grocery Store)
“East European supermarket chain with a decent and changing range of East European beers at exceedingly low prices in most cases, the odd shock though.“
imdownthepub 2999 days ago
“Traditional Coaching Inn, warm and friendly. Hook Norton beers always on sale from the cask including seasonal beers and guests. Wood panelled rooms, including the famous Globe room. Only those aged over 21 are welcome as an adult atmosphere is preffered.
Updated 29/04/12. The Reinedeer is still the flagship pub for Hook Norton and still retains an old world charm. Recently filmed on Pub Digs, showing it to be one of the few buildings to survive the siege of Banbury Castle during the civil war and Cromwell could well have used it to plan the battle. History and good beer, what more could you want?“
imdownthepub 3040 days ago
70 /100 50 - 52 NORTH ST.
We visited here again on Sunday 5th March 2017 I think that this has changed hands since my last visit, however beer choice still amongst the best on offer in town. There was a reasonable amount of folk in here on a Sunday afternoon. Service was very good and staff seemed quite chatty and certainly friendly enough. A little too much in the way of random stuff everywhere in this pub, you know brewerania but also other assorted oddments. Spotlessly clean though and beer quality was very good, though we are not convinced that the Oakham JHB that Loz asked for was what she got, unless Oakham have seriously cut down on the hoppiness of this beer, just not what we were used to. Score 70

Visited here on Monday 5th March 2012 . Quite impressed with how smart and tidy this place was. Beer prices were very reasonable, I believe that the White Horse Bitter was just £2.40p so great value there and there were one or two others under £3.00p a pint. The beer line up was pretty similar to what might you might expect in the Royal Blenheim, i.e. fine but unadventurous. How I long for an Oxfordshire pub to really push out the boat and be willing to try out more Golden and interesting hoppy bitters as opposed to decent enough but hardly earth shattering BBB’s. Service was good, selection was about ten handpumps as I recall. This will definately shake up the real ale scene in Banbury but it now requires others to follow suit and be a little more daring and adventurous in their beer choice rather than thinking "the punters won’t like anything 6.5% and hoppy, oh, no, no, no they won’t like that" Score 68
Fin 3332 days ago
We visited here again on Sunday 5th March 2017 I have visited here many, many times over the years, it was probably where I had my very first pint many years ago.This really is an excellent old pub, wonderful interior (check out the magnificent Globe Room at the rear). Even on a Sunday this place was quite busy, beer choice solely from the Hooky stable, but a good range. Staff very friendly, service very swift. It really is deservedly popular and whilst the beers we had today didn’t blow us away, they were well kept. A must visit if in town.

Original review 1st May 2007 One of the best pubs in the centre of Banbury with a good selection of Hook Norton Beers almost always in great condition. This pub has always been a favourite of mine, even if at times I’ve found them to be a little sniffy about things (once got refused entry for having hole in knee of jeans) This aside I would heartily recommend it to any vistor to Banbury.“
Fin 5102 days ago