I won’t be losing much sleep over the closure of the Cross Keys pub in Abingdon. It’s sad to see the demise of any decent pub but the Cross Keys wasn’t up to scratch really, lined up against some fierce competition. When I called in some years ago it was full of televisions and closed at lunchtime. Flats are proposed on a redeveloped site. Good idea. We need more homes.
The one good thing about a recession is that it sorts out the wheat from the chaff, but Abingdon need not worry. You are spoiled for choice with an array of good town centre pubs and restaurants. There is the White Horse, Brewery Tap, the Anchor, King’s Head and Bell, Punch Bowl, Black Swan, Blue Boar, Broad Face — thankfully reopened — and the Crown and Thistle Hotel. I find The Narrows disappointingly uncomfortable but the beer and food range is well priced as you would expect in a Weatherspoon pub. As for The Grapes opposite, well I’ll pass on that one.
But surely the jewel in the crown is the Nag’s Head on the bridge over-looking the Thames. Two years ago it was on its knees but in steps a new owner — previously at the Broad Face — and the pub has undergone a remarkable transformation. Real ales and good food with a new-look garden and friendly and efficient young staff. Not only that but the Nag’s Head is the gig centre of Abingdon with regular music packing in the punters.
As the redevelopment of the Old Gaol complex continues, even more people will be attracted to this once forgotten part of town.
The national economy is stirring again and all that’s needed now is a revival of the retail sector in the wake of the refurbished precinct.
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11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
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12:11pm Friday 24th April 2015
I notice six plane trees in Castle Street have been deprived of their branches, ready for the Westgate Centre improvements.
12:11pm Friday 24th April 2015
Iit is good to see a picture of the four nominees for the 2015 Regional Press Awards in Wednesday’s Oxford Mail. You have a long history of extraordinarily good photographers at the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times.
12:09pm Friday 24th April 2015
Pointing out that, on the day marking the 70th anniversary of the relief of Buchenwald death camp, 400 people fleeing from religious and political persecution were drowned when a boat capsized in the Mediterranean, Peter Unsworth asks whether anyone can tell him what we have learned during the intervening period (Cabbages and Kings, April 17).