Tucked snugly away down an unadvertized, unassuming, narrow alley in Oxford, England, is the Turf Tavern: one of Oxford's oldest and most famous Taverns.
Steeped in history and tradition, the tavern's low ceiling, exposed timber joists, and comfortably secluded courtyard provide its visitors with a warm, friendly atmosphere in which to enjoy real ale and draught cider.
Today, students flock to The Turf friday nights, forgetting their books at home as they raise a glass in pursuit of "an education in intoxication" (the tavern's motto).
The tavern's history began sometime in the 13th century. In the 17th century it served as a malthouse. In the late 18th century it was transformed into an inn, under the name "The Spotted Cow." It took its present incarnation in 1805, when it assumed its current name.
Stepping out from the alleyway and under the low ceilings of the Turf Tavern puts you in a milieux enjoyed by some of Oxford's finest: the pub was frequented by C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, and, of course, by Bill Clinton during his days as a Rhodes scholar.
It is argued that The Turf is the pub in which Jude Fawley's drunken Latin rant takes place in Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure (The pub in the novel is named after another Oxford pub, The Lamb and the Flag, but the description given in the novel matches closely with that of The Turf).
The Turf's crowd, atmosphere, and history make it a must-visit watering hole for anyone in the area.
Dates and historical facts were culled from the following sites:
The Turf: An Unofficial Guide: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~quee0700/turf2.html
Oxford's Living History: http://www.dailyfreepress.com/news/2002/11/14/Opinion/Living.History.Today.In.Oxford-323978.shtml