Joe's Bar and Grill in Oxford's Summertown effortlessly manages to be a chameleon bar. Many places try to be all things to all people and never really manage to do anything quite right. Joe's Bar and Grill is an exception, transitioning easily from a nice spot to stop for coffee, to family friendly lunches and then funky cocktails and live music on a Thursday evening.
I've been on multiple occasions and most recently to enjoy a mid week lunch special and a good old catch up with a close friend. Between 12 and 3pm they have a great value lunch for only £5. I chose the Farfalle Putanesca while my friend decided to try out the beetroot squash and spinach salad with a goat's cheese sauce. I was unsure what the quality and portion sizes would be like at a price cheaper than many of the local take out sandwich places and I'm pleased to say that both my friend and I polished off our lunches and were very satisfied.
While the lunchtime deals are great value, it's the homemade burgers that Joe's Bar and Grill are most known for. This is what I usually choose when I visit and have never been disappointed. I think it's the choice of different toppings that give them the edge from Oxford Blue cheese to grilled hot red chillies. They run a Tuesday burger club which includes a burger, chips and a drink for £10.
A perfect outdoor spot, right in the central hubbub of Oxford's Summertown.
On a warm summer's day, there are a good selection of tables outside to watch the local residents wander by and inside it's bright from the large floor to ceiling windows. I love to get a table right by the window but they also have comfortable semi circular banquets which lend an informal feel to catching up with friends.
While Joe's Bar and Grill is not a family oriented establishment as you might imagine it, this is part of the appeal to me. I've often taken my toddler and they have all the facilities needed and great service making you feel very welcome while still feeling you have a grown up outing, too.
Evenings take on a different vibe. You can pull up a stool at the long bar and order a cocktail. I can recommend a Bloody Mary and they know what they're doing as you get asked for the level of spice you want. Thursday night is all about the live music. The music style changes on a regular basis and you can enjoy anything from a George Michael tribute to Brazilian beats. Check the website for upcoming acts.