The Oakford Social Club

By | 05/04/2018

What’s the best bank holiday for beer? It’s obviously Good Friday, because you can go out on Thursday evening and not have to get up for work the next day (or the next 3 days if you are lucky). In fact, all bank holidays should be on a Friday.

Well, this particular pre-bank holiday Thursday evening also coincided with after work beers at our usual venue, The Oakford Social Club. For the uninitiated, it’s not a social club like a working mans club or the conservative club. It’s a pub. I have to wonder why they gave it a name that makes you wonder if you need to be invited to join before you can go. I’m evidently in a minority though, because the pub was heaving – standing room only by 7pm. Fortunately we got there early and managed to get a table. I made the mistake of yet again sitting down and taking notes about the beer in my little notebook. This being a work do, people got paranoid that I was checking attendance or something like that, and I had to spill the beans that no, people were not just about to get fired for bunking off early to go to the pub, but I was making notes for the new blog. It’s amazing how much panic you can cause with a tiny little notebook (evil laugh).

There’s a great choice of beer at the Oakford. Most of the ale drinkers opted for Gem by Bath Ales. At 4.1% it’s not too strong, and has a lovely hoppy taste. It tastes well looked after, and everyone who tried a pint of it went back for more – a sure sign it’s a hit. Also available on pump were Proper Job, Ghost Sip, Doombar of course. A fine selection of beer, lager and cider on tap too – Siren Undercurrent, Sierra Nevada, Transmission, for the ale drinkers, Peroni, Hells, Kozel, Amstel, Publika for the lager drinkers, Ena and Guiness for the stout fans, Orchard Pig for the cider drinkers. I asked the lager drinkers what they thought of the Hells. Every one of them was unable to form a sentence that implied any more that it had alcohol and was pleasant enough to drink. More of a slight on my work colleagues than lager drinkers in general – but at least it was pleasant to drink. And prices were about £4.60 a pint on average – a bit high, but not eye-wateringly so.

There’s good food at the Oakford too should you want something to eat- a selection of burgers and fried chicken. I had a burger that was both – a burger, fried chicken, and melted cheese.  With chips of course. That covers a lot of food groups, so I assume it is good for me. Certainly tasted good.

The Oakford often has live music or a DJ at the weekends, and because it was the bank holiday, they had stretched that to the Thursday too. Everyone seemed to be happy enough that the DJ was playing, but no more so than someone sticking a good playlist on from their phone. Still, it added to the party atmosphere. Even with no DJ, it’s a lively pub, in a good way – everyone there seems to be there for a good time, with no trouble.

Beer Quality All tasted great – no-one had a bad pint.
Beer Selection Really good range of beer, with a few favourites for the unadventurous, and a few unusual ones too.
Drink vs Food Good food available. Some of the tables need the front door seem to be more set up for eating, but they don’t mind you just drinking there.
Music Loud music, but not so loud that you can’t natter. Until the band comes on of course.
Snacks Nothing visible. A few packs of crisps hidden away.
Atmosphere Very lively and relaxed, lots of people out having fun.
Price About £4.60 a pint. On par with other town center pubs.
Space Can be hard to get a table unless you are there early, but they do let groups reserve a table. Some tables out the front and out the back for smokers. Some of the space at the back is covered

Score: 7.1

Reading RG1 1PZ, UK

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