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Red Lion, Oxford

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user reviews of the Red Lion, Oxford

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

I agree with Grahamh8, the ignorant aussie barman gave me a pint at least 10% short and said it was a legal requirement, he did top it up to my satisfaction but was very arrogant and unprofessional, furthermore the next customer was given a glass of beer with something black floating in it, instead of disposing of the pint he scooped the offending item out with a knife and handed the beer over. If I had been from trading standards he would have ended up at best sacked or in court. This place is a dump and best avoided.
beer_finder_general - 30 May 2013 11:40
From the outside the Red Lion is a fine looking building situated on the corner of Gloucester Street and George Street in OX1. It's had various previous guises including a stint as part of the ‘Firkin’ chain and then a stint as one of the truly awful 'Goose' brand of hostelries.
Having undergone a major refurbishment in early 2011 this is now one of those places that is advertised as ‘Pub and dining’ which basically gives you a big enough of a clue that this is now a gastro pub more aligned to being a restaurant with an interior remodelled and designed by those that think a place is made more attractive by putting lumps of dead wood and vases full of dead twigs around the place.
One gushing foodie writer penned the following in a local Oxford rag just after it opened in its current guise.
“The Red Lion is a typical pub by name, but by no means a typical pub by nature. Hoping for pork-scratchings, beer-mat pyramids and belching contests? Then you're better off heading to your local Wetherspoon's. This is an establishment that adheres to the new-era laws of The Gastropub - 'cosy cappuccino' paint, contemporary art and oh-so-trendy driftwood sculptures.”, which just about tells you all you need to know, which is probably to steer clear if you’re just after a pint..
Well almost. There is a very decent outside drinking area at the back of the pub and on a fine day it’s a good spot to escape the foodie interior and worth investing in a pint to sup on the outside terrace.
As mentioned very much a modern gastro pub in a fine external building skin, but there are three handpumps dispensing two Brakespears beers and a decent pint of Everards Sunchaser.
Gann - 4 Oct 2012 13:17
This place isn't really a gastropub, more a 'nouveau riche' gastropub for townies doing Loadesmoney impressions. Sure, the food looked good and the cocktails were tasty but the service is supercilious and the atmosphere seemingly recreated by a denizen of that most suspect of 90s phenomena - the DJ bar. It's had various guises including a stint as part of the not wholly awful 'Firkin' chain and the in no way acceptable 'Goose' brand of hostelries. The garden is big and a blissful refuge from the interior - if only one were able to use it for more than one night a year.
BoehmBawerk - 7 Aug 2012 18:07
The Red Lion has undergone a major refurbishment , pub looks great , servers are friendly and food is fantastic. Prices are competitive for a city centre gastro pub and their products are about quality. Outside we dined and had full waiter service in the non smoking dining area overall great this is what Oxford has been looking for!
Jkinoxford - 19 May 2011 13:58
Sorry can't agree with the previous review. This is now a gastropub, gone has the great pub atmosphere that this place generated in the past. On the plus side the refurbishment looks good but that's where the good points end. The food prices have doubled or in some cases trebled from previous prices without the same incremental rise in value. The pub has a great outside seating area, patrons not eating are herded to one side and not allowed to sit at the majority of tables which are for those dining despite most of these being unoccupied during our stay. We were served short measure pints and the bar staff refused to top up and were rude in the process!! They have been instructed to serve a 5% head inclusive of the pint measure, legally I believe this allowable, but where was the good will, we have never been refused a top up before. We will not be returning to the pub until it changes hands again, which has happened frequently over the years. There are many great pubs in Oxford, try these in preference to the Red Lion.
Grahamh8 - 17 Apr 2011 21:11
What a lovely pub. The new owners have really gone to work and it looks so impressive. A complete transformation. Staff are attentive and freindly and the food was absolutely delicious. I went to their opening thier opening party in February and have been back every week since!
Would reccommend anyone to go and visit and see how it has been transformed!
denninm - 4 Apr 2011 14:18
Cheap, but not a bad pint and food was fair for the price !
Dribbler - 13 Sep 2010 16:34
You lot at this pub should be ashamed of your self as i was in oxford city centre last night to watch oxford utd do there parade then a load of us went to get a drink in your pub and your bar staff turned us away because we all had a oxford utd shirt on. Crap pub rude bar saff .
daniel1511 - 19 May 2010 06:18
The beer was good, the bar staff were... distracted (they served the person nearest to the person they just gave the changed to, rather than working out who had been waiting next), but the bouncers were decidedly hostile. Non-friendly in the early part of the evening, they wouldn't listen to reason when chucking out time came, whereby my mate had 1 mouthful of beer left at 11:15 on a Thursday evening, but they wouldn't let him finish it, so they man-handled him out (despite the fact we're both well into our 40's).

Ok as long as you leave before they chuck you out.
nprg - 27 Aug 2009 23:55
Pretty awful.

Despite the makeover, the Goose (Red Lion) is one of the crappest pubs in the OX postcode.

Bar staff do their best, but the weight or history hangs heavy about this place.

The clientele are mostly ruffians and elderly drunks.

The only possible advantage is it's proximity (2 min walk) to the bus station.
griffo59 - 14 Aug 2009 19:24
Now renamed the Red Lion, but thats about the only thing that has changed. Bad service, from start to finish, awful beer, Taylors Landlord cloudy and warm and frankly i disliked the place so much i didn't bother to change it i just left. It epitomises the dreadful chain pub. It really is one to avoid.
wellinformed - 20 May 2008 20:35
I went to this pub for the first time recently. One bouncer IDd me at the door (I'm 26)...he directed me inside. On getting to the door another bouncer came out and hit me with the door. He didn't apologise...instead he had a go at me for standing where I was. I explained that I'd been directed inside and was the waiting for my friends. He shooed me out using a loud threatening voice. I did nothing to antagonise him. Terrible staff, terrible bar, terrible music. TERRIBLE PLACE.
Capuchin - 26 Jan 2008 23:02
no one can actually like this pub, but its a part of most young people's lives in oxford. above its extreme crapness, it has been the start of many a stupid night out, and a good place to tell your latest drunken stories to your mates.
mjlk - 7 Dec 2007 02:01
Some of the comments below are a bit snobby - yes, it's cheap, but it's often cheerful, with a lively mixed crowd of locals and students out for a good time, as well as others up for a cheap beer. Never had any problems with the (admittedly fairly ordinary) range of real ale, and the food, while bog standard, is consistent.

I believe Andrew Smith, the MP for Oxford East, took up the issue of the "stock indiscrepancies" notice mentioned below.
eddieman - 19 Nov 2007 00:20
I worked here for a year when it opened.

The only thing worse than working there is drinking there. I'd go to the Glock if I were you.
anonymous - 18 Oct 2007 13:38
I am a visitor form the US and went to the goose for a meal and a few pints. Arrived around 6pm and had a meal and a few pints. At approx. 8pm a bouncer arrived at our table and asked me to remove my hat. We were already finished and ready to leave so I told him that I wouldn't remove my hat instead I would just leave. At this point he followed me to the door and when we got outside he proceeded to call me a cocksucker. The little Arab bastard was lucky he didn't receive a fist in the mouth. I will never ever return to this shithole
bussmasher - 29 Sep 2007 20:52
The only pub in Oxfordthat should be dragged, kicking and screaming into the streets of Oxford and shot.

Repeatedly.
anonymous - 9 Aug 2007 16:38
Young Offenders Institutions are positive places where people who have become a bit lost in life can rebuild their life. This is not one of them.
jake_q - 7 Jul 2007 04:12
There's a notice informing staff that due to 'stock indiscrepencies' they will all be deducted £10 from their wages 'without exception'. This is completely ILLEGAL and should be reported to the authorities by a well intentioned citizen. They are taking advantage of cheap 'migrant labour' who don't know their rights. If you work here please challenge the management on this.

It's a nice semi-historic building in the centre of Oxford that could be put to better use. Perhaps a decent pub? Rather than a young offenders institution?

It's also full of chavs.

jake_q - 7 Jul 2007 04:03
What a missed opportunity this is....used to be fabulous as the Brew House and it's popularity continued throughout it's Firkin era!!!!

M&B ought to be ashamed of themselves for destroying such wonderful pub with a strong heritage.Sort it out now!
anonymous - 25 Jun 2007 15:09
I was at this pub today and I swear to God there was a group of tramps in there, paying for pints of Strongbow with 5p & 10p pieces that they'd begged for earlier.

It's odd, 'cos you look at the pub & you can see that with a bit of effort, it could be a really comfortable, popular venue: it's in a prime location, housed in a distinctive building and a large outdoor seating area (very rare in Oxford!)
danny263 - 26 May 2007 23:02
Cheap and ok for a quick pint
anonymous - 8 May 2007 16:08
I'm sure it would be a gross calumny to state that a third of the patrons are ASBOnauts; it just seems that way to me.
No, I won't be going back.
anonymous - 29 Dec 2006 21:25
Avoid. Huge charmless place. Some real ales and a decent patio area. For any-one who remembers it as The Brewhouse it would bring a tear to your eye to see what has been done with this fantastic building. Wheelchair access.
oxfordboy - 29 Dec 2006 16:28
No, no, no, no.
Never ever go to this pub. Awful.
ONscotland - 25 Oct 2006 21:13
Genuinely awful. The clientele are something that have to be seen to be believed and are only there to get completely obliterated. The only reason to go is if someone puts a gun to your head.
anonymous - 15 Sep 2006 13:35
If you're looking at this website, you already know not to go here.
thedts - 5 Sep 2006 02:00
Rubbish; a crack whore version of a J D Weatherspoons.
anonymous - 31 Jul 2006 15:41
Horrible crowd, horrible bar staff, horribly dirty. Only drink here if you're desperate for cheap drinks (£2 pints and £2 spirit doubles and mixers), otherwise go somewhere nice.
edb543 - 22 May 2006 11:53
Hugely busy pub last time I went in (but it *was* a Saturday night).

There's nothing really wrong with this pub, but then there's nothing really right with it either. Why go here when there's so many good pubs in Oxford?
clockworkpurple - 15 Jan 2006 14:02
Definitely has a "wipe-clean" feel about it.
anonymous - 2 Nov 2005 17:04
Well meaning place, lots of Hook Norton when I went. A little sour. Pretty good in view of the crowds.
anonymous - 1 May 2005 22:24
In fairness lads this pub was pretty badly before but we've changed management and and senior barstaff now and are now accepting customers not wearing burburry. We try damn hard to keep the tables clear but during busy lunchtimes like today it's difficult as we have about 3 food orders a minute to send out. I just hope that everyone who's posted negative comments will come back in and give us another go.

P.s the zero rating is because I don't think I can be unbiased about the pub I work in!
malman - 5 Mar 2005 15:44
Not so much a pub but more of a pikey storage area. Unless you are decked out in Burberry or Kappa and don't mind drinking beer watered down with the barmans own piss then do yourself a favour and go somewhere else.
Grubby piss-weak excuse for a pub, bring back the Firkin
hongkongdave - 10 Jan 2005 14:48
It always feels pretty grimy and dirty in here, I don't think the bar staff bother collecting glasses or wiping tables!!
Vickilou - 1 Dec 2004 07:13
The beer was expensive and I don't know if it was the bottom of the barrel or something but there was definitely something funny about it. When I returned my pint the bar staff were rude and objectionable.
We all moved on after the first pint.
There are so many superb pubs near by I don't think I or any of my friends will bother with this place again.

Phil - 2 Sep 2004 15:29
expensive!!!!!!!!!!!!!
anonymous - 28 Jul 2004 05:10
they do have a music license now. although the prices of drinks have risen in order to pay for it! but its good all the same
V - 26 Jun 2004 15:24
i have literally never experienced such rude stuff..its true!shame because apart from that it would be a pretty decent place
anna - 27 Jan 2004 19:39
Its not that bad! yeah there's no music and it takes a while to get to the bar but where else can you get a burger and chips and 4 pints for a tenner. the totti aint bad either
Tim - 17 Jan 2004 16:34
Grim, grim, grim pub.
Worst pub in Oxford by miles.
If you want a decent pub stay away from george street, bloody faux pubs and townie central. Much better off going to Jericho or Cowley road.

hongkongdave - 1 Dec 2003 18:02
Rude, surly staff. Service slow. Avoid this pub!
Graham - 16 Nov 2003 15:14
If you are served within 15min then your a lucky bastard or female Best option go to O’Neil’s across the road for a better service
MIKE - 10 Nov 2003 17:52
This place has no music!! This makes it the most dull pub in Oxford by some way - the cheap drinks don't make up for this! Yes I've seen countless scuffles in there. Go to the Gloucester Arms instead!
Peter - 9 Nov 2003 17:34
massive character-free chain pub. good for fights ande cheap drinks
alex - 26 Oct 2003 01:59

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