Historical version 8 of Queen's Lane Coffee House
Queen's Lane Coffee House claims to be one of the oldest coffee houses in Europe, personally I find this very doubtful although it may have a legitimate claim to be the oldest coffee house in the UK, and very probably is the oldest coffee house in Oxford. The shop is located facing High Street, sandwiched between The Queen's College and St. Edmund Hall. They have recently expanded their premises into the shop next door. As yet, I'm not convinced whether this has effected the claustrophobic charm of the original layout.
The coffee is very nice and reasonably priced - a must for fans of independent coffee shops. The select of food is very nice with the usual baguettes, panini and salads. The breakfast menu is also very good and reasonlably priced. More tempting is the selection of cakes. I always found it a very tempting stop when I lived in the east of Oxford, but a central location it might be a little bit on the distant side to walk just for a coffee.
As an undergraduate at Magdalen College I found this place indespensible as a purveyor of cooked breakfasts. They have a variety of different breakfasts right up to the £6 Jumbo breakfast (something one is recommended to consume no more than once every six months). The place was also full of character and I enjoyed the communal aspect of eating there (as you quite often had to share a long table in the middle of the shop). However, as mentioned above, sometime in the last 9 months, they have doubled the size of the café, refurbished it, and generally removed any character it once had. The breakfasts are worse (mushrooms hardly cooked, toast doing a good impression of stale bread) and their standard coffee comes in smaller trendy glass mugs, and is Americano rather than the previous filter coffee.
I'm disappointed to not be able to recommend this place any more; for a fry-up, try the [St Giles' Cafe]? instead.
--Dom, May 2003