10 hand pull, didn’t count the other availabilities, as real ale is my thing, and 4 of them were ticks. Even better - they do 3 thirds for the same price as a pint, so we thirded what we thought would be less interesting and halved the one which had the most potential. Best of all - staff also offered to serve the beers with or without sparklers. Being in the south, my preference seemed to be the preferred configuration. Beer quality was middling, with both ups and downs, but one of them was macro, so I’m not going to blame nicholsons for duffness. Fairly typical Nicholsons feel, food menu, etc. Restaurantey feel upstairs, pubby downstairs, both work. Any pub that can put 4 ticks on my family almost certainly deserves to be in an Oxford crawl, so I’m giving this the thumbs up.
New rating Sep ’14. Recently the pub has been closed for an update and redecoration. There is a cleaner feel to it now and a bar added in the upstairs dining area. On re opening the staff are very thinly spread, the barman was also serving tables yesterday so getting a beer was very slow. All the beers are from the Nicholson’s, M&B list, so nothing too unusual. Dec ’11Lovely old building in an old medieval passageway off High Street. The building itself dates to around 1500, it is a conversion of old dwellings which gives it a higgledy piggledy look. The beers have improved of late and although it attracts some of the younger crowd, there is generally the odd quiet place if you push through from the doorway. The courtyard is very popular on warmer evenings. Another pub where it is difficult to get served though. Overall, very much worth a visit.
Very impressed with this place: 23rd Nov 2013, one of many on a heavy and long crawl.
We sat upstairs (6 of us) and had plenty of room, the place however was packed to the rafters. A good mix of clientele with a well behaved younger crowd being the largest grouping.
Good beer selection: I had halves from Orkney, Brains, Great Heck, Rudgate, Daleside and Ilkley. All in good condition. The staff were very good considering the workload and managed to be both pleasant and swift in their delivery of the beers on each order.
We also had a selection of their food: everything was devoured and enjoyed, mostly unhealthy fried stuff, but fine all the same. Toilets across the courtyard/smokers area, clean and non-smelling, so another plus for the pub.
Went here during some British Beer Festival thing. They had 15 casks! The bartender gave me a flight of all 15 of them, and labeled each glass with a post-it-note. Holy cow! And the food was excellent. Very, very pleasantly surprised by this place. Doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it is great.
Visited on 24th April 2013 on start of Oxford crawl. Historic Nicholsons pub in a coaching inn, accessible through a small alleyway off the high street. 10 hand pumps serving ales from a mix of of brewery sizes from regionals to micros. The two beers I tried included Peerless All American which I found somewhat disappointing, however other ratings of this ale suggest the beer, rather than the pub, underdelivers. Friendly staff. I had eaten very well elsewhere and thus did not sample their menu. 70s to 90s background music at a comfortable level. Pub naturally divides into several drinking areas, and is worth a visit on its architectural merit alone.
Interesting casks in a nice old building. The courtyard is overcrowded when the weather is warm.
Fin (1149) Merton, Oxfordshire, England, England | April 2, 2012
A regular on my jaunt around the towns better pubs, and one that if anything has improved following the acquisition by Nicholsons. I note that they try to avoid having the same offerings at the same time as the Crown which is the other Nicholson pub around the corner on Cornmarket. I love the olde worlde reception type hall when you enter from the alley and I like the quirkiness of it, being a wonderful alley pub, like the Wheatsheaf, aforementioned Crown and the Turf. Usually about 8-10 handpumps and often with something from Theakstons available, I have also seen Brewdog Punk IPA at a ridiculously cheap £3.00 a pint (or just over that price) within the last couple of years. A pub well worth investigating and one that has a number of other good pubs in close proximity.
A Nicholson’s pub in an old coaching inn.
The Chequers is down a narrow cobbled alley which opens out onto an enclosed courtyard. It’s set side on to the alley and you first enter a great hall with ornate coving. To the right is the bar, with a low ceiling, and snug with comfy armchairs and a quarry tiled floor; to the left there’s a grand staircase leading up to a galleried area with a space at the back that might once have been a chapel and yet another gallery overlooking the courtyard.
They have 10 hand pumps and 13 keg taps with a good selection of beers. It’s less “corporate” than some places in the Nicholson’s chain – somehow more earthy – but not as cosy or atmospheric as it could be, perhaps because of the presence of a fruit machine in the hall and the fact that none of the fires were lit, despite it being a bitterly cold January day.
(Visited 7 January 2012).
One of the older pubs in the centre of Oxford and gained my custom recently as they serve food all day. It has that typical managed feel and lost some of it’s character from back in the day, but a decent layout, good range of beers on offer but not so well kept, plus an interesting food menu with a special sausage board. The staff are a bit over friendly, we counted both the ’landlord’ and his junior use ’mate’ about 20 times in 10 minutes. "Alright mate, here you are mate, that’s fouar parnd sevenee mate" Thank you very much, sir.