Ye Olde Reine Deer (Hook Norton)
47 Parsons Street, Banbury
Monday to Saturday 11am to 11pm (Food 11am to 2pm)
This is my favourite pub in Banbury. It's on Parsons Street, which is
just round the corner from the impressive Greek Revival St Mary's Church,
and does not only real ale (see earlier review below) but fruit wines, and
its own chocolate. Very busy on Saturday nights.
There is a very fine and vicious Persian cat. Do not attempt to stroke
it on pain of pain.
Hook Norton Mild (3.0%) £1.60
Stowford Press Cider £2.10 (13.ii.1999)
Just across the road from the Wine Vaults, this is supposed to be the
oldest pub in Banbury. I'm almost sure that Pevsner concurs. The front
room is dark, wood-panelled with small round tables in it and a bar with
four varieties of Hook Norton Ales on it. Best, Generation, Old Hooky, and
the dark Mild. The landlord used to run the Falkland Arms at Great Tew,
which is one of the best in Oxfordshire.
Behind the front bar is a small, no-smoking area, and beyond that, through
a corridor leading to a miniscule paved garden and up a flight of steps,
is the Globe Room. This is a very surprising room in the style of a
miniature College Hall. It's nearly as big as the one in St Edmund Hall.
It's all dark wood panelling, large latticed windows, fireplace containing
a real coal fire, and pediments, with a long table for seating about
twenty in the middle of it. The food on offer is fairly simple, but
filling. Elaine's fishcakes came with reasonable quantities of leeks,
carrots and cabbage. My shepherds' pie had two great lumps of bread served
alongside. There is not a single course that costs over a fiver.