Visiting Oxford can be hungry work, but a great range of independent cafes help to refuel you. One, off the main beaten tourist track, is well worth journeying out to, on Walton Street in Jericho, on the northern side of town. Called the Barefoot Cafe, it links in with the Barefoot Bakery, who run the cafe but also bake and market the cakes.
Cakes abound in a range of sizes, to suit your palette and hunger levels. Loaf cakes, tray bakes, and various sizes of layered cake make for an enticing display. Flavours have been carefully thought through to give you something a little bit different. Pumpkin and ginger is a mild but tasty cake. For more ginger punch try something like Dark Sticky Ginger, and for a flavoursome option, Spiced Carrot Cake. The Specials are noted at the till, which might be, for example, toasted banana bread with yoghurt.
For drinking, there is the usual array of coffees, but also teas galore (from Jeeves & Jericho), and a 'rainbow latte' series including such exciting options as turmeric and ginger, or one involving beetroot. If you have a problem with dairy, you can choose from a wide range of alternative milk, including almond, oat, hemp, tiger-nut and oat.
Making the drinks menu even more unusual is the fact that the coffee beans are roasted specially for them, and are even available to purchase. They make for a good window decoration, next to a pile of magazines on the local area and actives (free to take), which gives the place the feel of great community spirit.
With plenty of choices, you need an atmosphere worth spending time in, and the cafe certainly provides it. The Barefoot Cafe's strapline, 'Stick it in your cake hole' is painted above the arch between the two main rooms. Look up for a laugh, and enjoy the decor inspired by local life - Oxford is definitely one place where a bicycle on the wall is not unusual!
The tables are simple but attractive. Jam jars are filled with sugar cubes, and flowers add a splash of colour and charm. Social media worthy looking food calls for good social media, and they don't disappoint. Find them at barefootoxford on Instagram, @BarefootOxford on Twitter, and Barefoot Oxford on Facebook. The clever website even offers a 3D tour of the cafe itself!
Music can be heard in the background, but not intrusively, as staff tread the line between offering a vibrant location to attract customers, and a calm space for work, or coffee and catch up. From informal meetings to an escape from the office, or a casual stop-off for a tired tourist or group of friends, the cafe offerings something to attract everyone.
There was a second pop-up branch in the town centre, but this has now closed. Not just a cafe, Barefoot Oxford also caters for outside events (including weddings) and wholesale. They have a second branch in Woodstock, a few miles north of Oxford, which would be a great place to stop off after, for example, a trip to the Oxford Museum or Blenheim Palace.