Now The Duke's Cut.
Rosie O'Grady's (Morrells)
Park End Street, Oxford
Used to be the Queens Arms.
Guinness GBP 2.20 (22.i.98)
Colin Batchelor writes:
The name is enough not to leave you in any doubt about the interior, and
unsurprisingly they have more taps for Guinness than any other pub I've
seen in Oxford and the Guinness is well served. Oh, and the folk behind the
bar were actually Irish when I went.
This isn't as bad as the more recent Irish theme-pubs in Oxford---it's
part of a chain called "Gaelic Houses", and is tied to Morrells. It's got
a fair amount of Irish baraphernalia about the place and has a darkish and
cluttered feel to it, but it's probably ignorable if you've had a few
drinks before hand. The piped music (which, oddly, is less
diddly-dye-flavoured than, say, the jukebox in the not-explicitly-Irish
Black Swan in Cowley St John) will get on your nerves, especially since it
appears in the facilities.
It's tied to Morrells, but the only thing of theirs they seem to do is the
Oxford Bitter. And to settle any arguments, this was the Queen's Arms, a
posh restauranty sort of place until the end of 1994/beginning of 1995
when the woman who owned it started her chain of "Gaelic Houses".
Pontus Lurcock updates:
No cask beer any more, just a mysterious tap marked "house bitter". I
had the Guinness, so I can't comment on it. But they do have the
widest selection (as far as I know) of Bushmills whiskeys in Oxford,
which is very good if you like that kind of thing and can afford it.
And the staff are still Irish. And there's a pleasant little terrace
jutting out over the canal, which is handy for taking the air and
avoiding the music.
Among the thoroughly Irish quotations enlivening the walls are some
lines from Flann O'Brien's At Swim-two-birds: "When money's tight
and hard to get / And your horse has also ran. / When all you have is
a heap of debt / A pint of plain is your only man." That's all very
well, but of course they don't serve plain and neither does anybody
else. Perhaps they're just taunting.