I always think of Cropredy as a sort of chocolate box place. Thatched cottages and log fires in the pub. The country retreat of Oxford dons. Last night we arrived here somewhat moist. You know about the rain at the moment so I won’t dwell on that. Being cold and wet we opted to eat at the pub, but the Red Lion (which we have patronised in the past) doesn’t do food on Sundays, so we walked on up to the Brasenose Arms.
I think, without ever going in, I always thought it to be – how can I describe it – a sort of Daily Telegraph Pub. Men in blazers etc. Anyway, I was wrong. Entering the bar the first thing that assailed us was John Martyn on the PA singing “May you never”. A bit cool for a country pub I thought. We sat in comfy leather sofas by the (imitation) log fire supping pints of well kept Hooky while the music moved on through Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. The posters on the wall soon confirmed that this was something of a muso’s pub. Regular visits by blues bands etc. A prog rock magazine on the table. The PA was coming through rock band speakers and a 16 channel mixing desk.
Then we noticed the other people in the bar. Not a blazer in sight. In fact the public bar side at least seems definitely to be the haunt of choice of the local working man. Conversations were friendly but occasionally , er, robust.
The menu looked fairly ordinary, but with hints of adventure. Being too hungry, knackered and cautious to take any risks, we each opted for burgers with blue cheese and bacon. When they eventually came we got a real surprise. Looking very cheffy on square plates, the burgers were obviously home made, hugely thick and nicely pink in the middle, the bun was a nice toasted ciabatta, there was a delicious red chutney, attractive salad leaves in a tasty dressing and very good chips. Top marks. It was, we both agreed, delicious.
Retiring to the sofa, we were approached by a man encouraging us to take part in the pub quiz. So we did. 40 good general knowledge questions and we got into a play off for the winner. Then we drew the playoff. Then on the second playoff we got beaten. Ah well. Can you remember the theme song to “The Office” and guess the height of Angel Falls?
Finally, with Jimi Hendrix still doing his stuff in the background we had a go at the meat raffle. Yes a meat raffle. An old working man’s pub tradition that I thought had died out.
It just goes to show you can’t judge a book by the cover