There's only one thing for it. Consult Tripadvisor for the finest place to eat (her). Dust off the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for the finest places to drink (me).
The Three Pigeons, 3 Southam Road, Doombar
The taxi delivers us to the first of three GBG pubs in town. The first calling point of the evening will set the tone for the night. Will it be a boozers paradise full of old men with dogs, delighting me and making Mrs Mappiman wonder what she is in for?
We are dropped off in a courtyard car park, where the outbuildings (former stables?) have been converted into rooms. If I had known, we could have booked here.
|Three Pigeons from the Font|
Slightly disappointed to find only two real ales - Purity Gold and Doombar. And as much as I like Ubu, I didn't fancy a gold.
Purchases made and then I discover what is common to all 400 year old hostelries.... low beamed ceilings.
The very pleasant ambiance is very slightly tainted by a 6ft brummie swearing about having cider all down his strides and a very sore head.
Traumas are forgotten as we slump into very fine wing backed chairs in front of a lovely woodburner.
|Mrs M Sympathetically informing Facebook that I've smacked my bonce.|
Bruises apart, a fine start.
The White Horse, 50 North Bar Street, Lecons Affinity & Everards Tiger
We move on towards the town centre into a pub that I am going to file under "unique".
No photo from outside as there are a couple of smokers who I am sure would appreciate their anonymity.
Inside, its a mixture of styles. First impressions are that it looks like some has ramraided an auction house. Full of trinkets, ornaments and pub related paraphernalia. Seating wise, its just as eclectic - large chesterfield in front of a open wire, standard pub tables and oddly out of kilter American diner style booths.
|View from a Chesterfield|
|I'm nice. As long as I don't bang my head|
By the time I have been served, my new gentlemen friends have collectively agreed that it is indeed 6:20 and all is good in the timepiece world.
|Another View from the Chesterfield|
Are we talking London Prices here?
2nd round proves it - £5.80 and as much as I enjoyed the Affinity, I decided to go for the equally lesser spotted Everards Tiger.
Great beer. Interesting decor. Characters.
The Exchange, 50 High Street, Nothing
No matter how much I plead that my visit will not be complete unless I tick off all the GBG entries in a town, I just cannot convince Mrs M to cross the threshold of a Wetherspoons.
The Coach and Horses, Butchers Row, Old Hooky
GBG Pubs done (sort off), it's Mrs M's booking for food. I'm delighted she has chosen a Hook Norton tied house.
|My Sort of Pub|
Tripadvisor had come up trumps here - the food was exceptional, the service was that good that I added a cash tip to card payment and the beer was outstanding.
A proper result, if you are looking for good food.
Ye Olde Reinde Deer, 47 Parsons Street, Old Hooky
And we arrive at the best pub of the night. Lets admire its qualities;
- History - Medieval Building, with ties to the English Civil War
- Architecturally stunning
- Full range of Hook Norton Real Ales
- Old Hooky was superb
- Live Music
- Busy, but easy access to a well staffed bar
And its not in the 2017 Good Beer Guide.
|Ye Olde Reine Deer|
|See, I haven't spelled it incorrectly|
If you had foreign friends and wanted to show them a perfect example of an English Market Town pub, this would be it.
We sit and take in the Americana live music - Seastick Steve crossed with early Johnny Cash.
I could have stayed all night but Mrs M declared that we had done enough to declare Banbury a success.
|To Banbury - where its an average of £3.80 per pint|