Reasons To Be Cheerful II
(If you're wondering what this is all about, click here.)
#5 - The Jericho Tavern
When I was looking to leave Abingdon for the relative metropolis that is Oxford, Jericho was one of the areas that tempted me most - pretty, a short walk from both the city centre and the train station (the latter a pleasant stroll along the river, at least when it hasn't burst its banks...), and with Walton Road and its bars, eateries and shops threading its way through the middle.
Right at the heart of it all is the building that apparently gave the area its name, the Jericho Tavern, situated next to the Phoenix Picture House (as a close parallel to Birmingham's Electric Cinema, expect it to feature in the series some time too) and currently painted a striking black.
Inside it's smart without being clinical, with lots of wood and leather seats in which you can happily sink with a glass of mulled wine on a miserable Saturday afternoon in January. The range of real ales could be more extensive, true, but there's a good selection of continental lagers, each tap having a luggage tag tied round it with a brief description for the adventurous drinker. I've quickly become a big fan of Franziskaner, a Bavarian white beer, and can also recommend the Belgian fruit beer Fruli, though only in moderation - there's only so much cold alcoholic strawberry jam you can drink...
While I'm yet to sample their food, the menu, affixed to clipboards around the pub, certainly looks very appetising, and if you find yourself waiting for service at the bar on a busy night there are a load of anagrams up on a board to occupy the mind.
Civilised and homely it might be downstairs, but the copious number of expletives etched onto the walls of the gents is a clue to the fact that further up the stairs is a gig venue, one that witnessed the emergence of popular Oxford beat combos like Radiohead in the 1990s. With its decent drink options (not least the local(ish) Addlestones cider), compact size and large square of 70s patterned carpet on the stage, it's the anti-Academy. I've already been once, and I'm sure it won't be long before I'm back again.