Any discussion of the best places in Oxford is incomplete without a list highlighting the top 5 places that give Ole Miss and Oxford part of its reputation. No, not the top sorority houses to sit in front of on game day—I’m talking about bars. Everyone’s got their favorite local watering hole, but some are far and away better or more iconic than the rest. This is a pretty select list, and, not surprisingly, you want find anything too far off the Square. That includes
Night Town Illusions which is “slightly west of the Square” *cough, cough*, and for those of you who supported Huddle House and Sonic on the Breakfast list, you’ll be disappointed not to find Chili’s and Applebee’s here. Nevertheless, whether you’re looking for a place to lazily take in the Square or get your swerve on with one of those “blonde” sorositutes or something in between, Oxford has got a mixed drink waiting for you.
*Honorable Mention: Two Stick—Trivia on Tuesday is an Oxford institution, and PBR night on Wednesday is tons of fun; Thursday morning class, however, is another story. Everyone loved the old place (in the back of what is now the Lyric), but the new digs aren’t cutting it. Add that to the sub-par music and you’ll miss the cut everytime.
#5: Parrish Bakers Irish Pub—You know it’s gotta be a great place when you can sit down at the bar next to the owner, who has spent the past several years protesting various laws and changes in Oxford. The old place was better (now Taylor’s Pub, but not nearly the same), but the new locale (across the street where Jubilee once was—tear for the indie kids and the…well we’ll just say their “friends”) has turned out pretty good too. Make sure to stop by for Whiskey Wednesdays. Yes, Gonzo, that is where he gets his name/attitude.
#4: Proud Larry’s—If you’re looking for a bar with good live music on a regular basis, Larry’s is the place. You’ll rub shoulders with the hipsters, but it’s not over-run with them. Likewise, the Greeks don’t dominate the scene. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere with live music after having a good dinner, or stop by for one of their good happy hours: half priced margaritas, $1 Miller High Life, Lazy Mondays with $2 pints of Lazy Magnolia beer, just to name a few. I know some of you are saying, “But Sir Drake, what about the Lyric? Surely their live music dominates Larry’s.” The Lyric does have amazing shows (i.e. Girl Talk, Old Crow,
Airships, Wilco), but it’s more of a theater than a bar. You go to the Lyric for a concert; you go to Larry’s for some music while you drink.
#3: Murph’s—This is most definitely a towny bar. Sure, you may see some frat stars and coeds in the mix, but they are given disparaging glances from the moment they show their IDs at the door. Speaking of IDs, they’re pretty strict on those, so don’t bring your crappy fake and say, “No, Brah, I swear I had to tape it ‘cause the lamentation started peeling off on its own after I threw up on it.” Don’t expect to cozy up to the guys behind the bar either, but after you come around a few times they will stop being so exasperated when you order your Murph’s Burger with an egg on top. And that brings us around to the positive side. They have the best bar food in Oxford. Get a burger with cheese fries and you won’t regret it (stay there long enough, though, and you will regret something the next morning). To make it better enjoy your burger and beer in the swings on the back porch. Additionally, you got to love a place with darts, shuffle board, and pool.
#2: The Library—Institution. Like it, love it, tolerate it, or despise it; you all know it’s true. Full of coeds and basketball coaches getting their drank on, this is actually three bars in one. You’ve got the open air Patio, the Sports Bar, and the main attraction itself. The Sports Bar is a great place to enjoy away sporting events, especially in the afternoons. The Patio provides a break from the crowded dance floor, and you can also smoke while drinking your beer here, a rarity in Oxford. The Library is home to DJ Mario, who will get the frat guys and sorority girls jumping every Thursday night (21 to drink, 18 to party *wink, wink*). It was also the favorite of Eli Manning during his days with the Rebels, and he continues to go when he’s back in town. Winning Ole Miss teams are frequently spotted at the Library after a victory; probably because they know you’ll buy them shots all night, and then they’ll sleep with your girl friend, but hey, you’re cool with that, right dude? Lastly, there’s nothing like the Library on a game weekend—this is where “we might not win the game, but we’ll never lose the party” line comes from.
#1: City Grocery—In my opinion, it’s not even close. This is a great bar for everyone and anyone, but please, for my sake, don’t everyone go there at once. Located above what is arguably the best eatery in town, City Grocery’s bar is fantastic. I’ve never left disappointed. The place is full of character from the brass topped bar with its Patron Hall of Fame to the balcony overlooking the Square. No music here: it’s all about the drinks and the socializing. Get there when they open at 4pm to enjoy watching the Square as daylight fades into dusk or show up later in the night for a packed house where you’ll run into somebody you haven’t seen in a while. Chip, Oxford’s best bar tender, will pour you up whatever you like, or better yet, tell him to surprise you and he’ll give you some great traditional cocktail of which you probably have never even heard. I didn’t cry the last time I left City Grocery as an undergrad, but I was pretty damn close.
Well I’m sure there will be lots of disagreement with the selections and order, but let me just say one thing to all of you who do not concur with my assessment: You’re wrong.