College bar wise, Hatfield is nice; large and a little airport-loungey, but nice. Castle's bar is okay, fairly expensive, and their "security" and general entry control is pretentious and ridiculous. As a member that wouldn't bother you though. John's Bar is a pit, literally. It's underground, about 6' high, dark, sticky, very little seating. Not nice.
All of their exclusive outdoors area is fairly small too, I believe.
As colleges, they are all nice though. It's really just what you prefer. I put Open on my application when I applied as I had never even visited before, but if I knew what I knew now, I would have either chosen Hild Bede (the one I was allocated to) or Hatfield. Hatfield is quite cute.
- Castle - definitely lives up to the hype. Very pretty, atmospheric, interesting, relatively expensive but they have a decent range of drinks (one of the only two college bars I know of to serve raspberry vodka - the other being Hild Bede) and generally a nice place to go. But definitely not wrong about the security measures for students from outside the college!
- Hatfield - fairly average. A little more pub-like than some of the others, one I've only ever tended to visit as part of a bar crawl myself and not in its own right. Also, their security measures have been upped a lot pretty recently also!
- John's - hey, I actually kinda like John's bar, though I may be one of the few that do! It's interesting, got a bit of character, and it's painted a rather bright blue! Though I do agree that it is small and very hard to find within the college itself, and has very low ceilings. But it also serves my favourite of the college drinks I've tried so far - Power Sourz!
So there you have an outsider's view on all three bars, at the very least!