To be honest, the "Far From the Madding Crowd" was never my favourite pub, and could sometimes get noisy, but then, so can a lot of pubs.
But it is still a disaster when pubs close, and they've been closing faster than we used to lose Elm trees...and unfortunately, new pubs don't grow on trees .... (er, would anyone like to mix that metaphor even more for me...? )
Alternative pubs: I wondered about the White Rabbit, nearby. (It used to be something else). It can get crowded, but there might be an odd corner.
Also wondered about the White Horse in Broad Street. For a small group, the table tucked into the alcove right at the back could be perfect.
Some serious research is needed here. It's a demanding job, but someone has to do it ...
Non-pubs: I've also often wondered about the Jericho cafe. They do sell beer, although only in bottles.
On a more serious, serious note, I have thought for many years that some sort of government action is needed to protect what's left of our British pubs (and indeed develop them). Unfortunately, the precedents are not good. The previous government but one (I think) forced the breweries to divest themselves of a lot of their pubs, supposedly to create more diversity and competition in the industry. The direct result of that seemed to be the closure of a lot of pubs, and even some breweries (Morlands in Abingdon, and Morrells in Oxford, to name but two). So, we can't trust governments to do the right thing, unfortunately.