The Waggon & Horses in Southmoor was, until 1997, very much a local "boozer". Early attempts at running the newly refurbished pub were perhaps a little misplaced and prompted Lindsay and Graham Atkins to make a life changing decision to take on the pub in May 2002.
Graham had been brought up in the area and felt he had a feel for the requirements of the locals. As a result, the Waggon & Horses is a family orientated and user friendly establishment serving home cooked genuine pub grub. Besides the bar menu there is a 30 seater comfortable non smoking restaurant which is available for private hire. The Waggon & Horses also specialise in Sunday lunch, offering a choice of at least two roast meats. The menus change about three times a year.
The lease is from Greene King and the standard beers are Morland Original and Greene King IPA whilst two guest beers are always run - currently Caledonian 80/- and St. Austell Tribute.
The pub, as Lindsay says, "very much fills a niche in the market. We want customers to feel comfortable in an informal atmosphere". Quiz nights are a regular occurrence on the first Tuesday of every month. There is live jazz/folk music six times a year with barbeques and pig roasts served in the evening.
The Annual Beer Festival has already made its mark in the community and I am reliably informed that a number of locals write off the entire spring bank holiday period for the festival lasts from Friday till Monday with clowns, face painters, rodeo and bouncy castles. It is very much a show case weekend when Mum and Dad can enjoy the fayre whilst the children are kept entertained for hours.
Lindsay and Graham employ 15 full and part-time staff and as if this isn't enough to cope with, Graham also runs outside bars. They are both keen to support local businesses using Baskervilles, Hedges, Spirit Drinks and of course The Oxford Wine Company.
The refreshing aspect of The Waggon & Horses is that they are not trying to be pretentious. What you see is what you get - a vibrant lively pub run by an enthusiastic couple with the local village very much in mind.
I had a very enjoyable three course lunch washed down with a bottle of Goyenechea Merlot Rosé from Argentina.
I arrived late but felt under no pressure to leave and enjoyed some very convivial company at the bar whilst Tim Henman put us through the usual agonies of yet another tie-break.
My very filling lunch:
- Garlic Mushrooms
- Homemade Steak & Ale Shortcrust Pie
- Bread & Butter Pudding