The Oxford Gastropub Opens Tonight

October, 31, 2008, by Jedidiah

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The jazzy decor of Yancy’s is gone and replaced by St. George’s cross, the English flag, leather chairs and a couple of fake fireplaces. Cozy for the winter, The Oxford’s dining room is closed tonight for a private event but the bar will be open to the public at 5:30pm.  The restaurant hopes to open at the beginning of next week.

Can we say Premiership/Champions League Footie on Saturdays? Let’s hope so. Stop by for a pint, mates.

The Oxford will be a British gastro-pub style restaurant. It will occupy the space in The Hudson where Yancy’s used to be.
Read more here.

All photos by Ladye Jane Vickers








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  • CJT
    11/01 11:03 AM

    Did anyone go?

  • Mike
    11/01 11:17 AM

    That’s all Raleigh needed…another Irish pub.

  • CJT
    11/01 11:22 AM

    This is not an Irish Pub.  It is a British Pub.

  • Mike
    11/01 01:43 PM

    My apologies…just what Raleigh needs, another British Isles influenced pub.

  • Jedidiah
    11/01 03:25 PM

    Chris,

    I went last night and talked with the owner G for a while. They have a great beer and wine selection. They will be open for food on Monday and we’ll have more reporting then.

  • b
    11/01 03:34 PM

    Looks like someone went overboard with the red paint.

  • Lisa Jeffries
    11/01 08:15 PM

    I’m in D.C. for the weekend… someone go and report back for us. I like the pics - looks nice!

  • Kat
    11/02 09:59 AM

    Oh looks great, can’t wait to try it out…hope the have “British Isles” inspired live music there…I like the idea that they are trying something different…

  • W.Chase
    11/02 01:21 PM

    I live @ the Hudson and am psyched about the Oxford.  This place should kill since it’s being run by someone who actually knows how to operate a restaurant/bar.  Add another watering hole to the list!

  • Ryan
    11/02 08:58 PM

    Went last night for two 16 oz Stone IPAs.  Good beer in a big glass. Yum! Did not eat, but the menu looked decent.  Some of it seemed a little uninspired (Calamari, again?), but the fried avocados peaked our interest. The waitresses wear really terrible uniforms that are just a step up from Flying Saucer’s.  Kind of trashy. Will definitely go back to sit at the bar, but I doubt we will go for dinner.

  • JD
    11/02 09:42 PM

    I tried to go there tonight around 7 and the doors were locked…  the hours on the window said open until midnight and there was a table of people in side, but it was locked up tight.  Disapointing.

  • SS
    11/03 11:01 AM

    A map or address would be helpful.

  • Jedidiah
    11/03 11:05 AM

    SS,

    Top right corner of the post.

  • hmmm
    11/03 01:57 PM

    does a gastropub smell like farts? that could be something they might want to talk about with marketing.

  • GB
    11/03 04:24 PM

    Looks cool. Will have to check this place out this week!

  • wg
    11/03 04:36 PM

    do they have a website, where you can check out the menu? and beer selection??

  • MMI
    11/03 07:57 PM

    Someone please confirm about the pricing on the menu.  I was told that entrees typically run around & above $20.  That, sadly, is NOT pub fare.  The idea of the public house is to serve essential food, done well.  That should keep most items in the $8-$15 range.


    FYI, the website is here: http://www.oxfordraleigh.com , although no menu has been posted as of yet.

  • Jedidiah
    11/03 08:04 PM

    MMI,

    The entrees start around 10/12 and go up to mid 20s. Appetizers are a bit lower.

  • MMI
    11/03 08:11 PM

    Thanks, Jed.  That (thankfully) goes against what I was told.

  • Lisa Jeffries
    11/03 08:16 PM

    Oh my goodness make the awful music on that website STOP!

  • hackles10
    11/04 08:36 AM

    Stopped by the Oxford for a beer late last night.  The menu looks good. 

    Roasted Garlic Hummus
    Mussles/Fries
    Calamari
    Bangers+Mash
    Shepherds Pie
    etc.

    Also have a cool Sat/Sun Brunch menu

    Honestly, apps are around $7-10, Meals are around 10-17 for the most part, there were a few steaks and seafood items that head north of $20, but that was about it.

    Manager said they did a good lunch crowd, but had to turn some away b/c they were still working out the kinks in the kitchen. 

    Overall…seems like a really cool place!  I am really looking forward to stopping back and trying the food!

  • Brittany
    11/04 11:15 AM

    The menu is now on the website, looks great!

  • MMI
    11/04 03:02 PM

    Much more importantly, how’s the beer selection?  :)

    One of you guys reading this clearly works at Oxford—within one day of being mentioned here, the music has been removed and the menu has gone up!  lol

  • hackles10
    11/05 11:16 AM

    Beer selection looked great.  Had 10 tap beers and a host of import/domestic bottles. 

    Also had some new red-bull cola that ive never seen before. 

    3 nice big flat screens, mentioned that they would be happy to show English Premier League soccer on sat/sun mornings….

  • JT
    11/05 04:56 PM

    Had a sandwich that was way too bread-ee, but had a lot of stuff inside.  The soup was cold and the fries were not fresh. 

    It is however beautiful on the inside, I was really impressed with that.  Needs a little work.  I look forward to drinking there when I’m less hungover.

  • Christian
    11/05 05:40 PM

    I’m gonna check the place out tonite for a few pints and some late night grub with my girlfriend. Having lived in London for several months, I’m sure my expectations will be overly high, but I’m just glad to see a place like this in Raleigh. Irish Pubs just aren’t the same as a traditional English pub. I too must add my two cents worth in regards to the website - in this day, why do so many new restaurants and bars overlook the vital importance of a serious and informative website? Oxford may have a menu online, but notably they omitted the beer/wine list. Personally, I always check out the website of a new place before I go, and am less likely to go try someplace that doesn’t have all the information online. But sadly it’s not just the Oxford - Fins and Coquette don’t really have a website either (to be fair, Coquette has a wesbite, but you have to search elsewhere on the net to find the menu). Anyways, that was just a personal rant, so I apologize. I’ll be sure to leave my comments after I go tonight.

  • Micah
    11/06 03:54 PM

    The first sentence of the Wikipedia entry for “Gastropub” is:

    “A gastropub (or “gastro pub”) is a British term for a public house which specializes in high-quality food a step above the more basic “pub grub.” The name is a combination of pub and gastronomy and was coined in 1991 when David Eyre and Mike Belben opened a pub called The Eagle in Clerkenwell, London.”

    So, it seems that this isn’t regular old pub fare, and is priced accordingly.

  • hackles10
    11/06 03:57 PM

    Food looks great, menu is very diverse and interesting.  Its very reasonably priced for a nice downtown location.  Anyone who isn’t ok with paying 12-17 for full dinner portions should stick to North Raleigh and the olive garden.

  • MMI
    11/06 06:01 PM

    Ah, so taste is dependent upon price?

  • hackles10
    11/07 10:45 AM

    ^horrible logic there

    better/more creative menu items use more ingredients and more expensive ingredients.

    if you wanted everything deep fried and 100% packaged/frozen they could keep the price down easily. 

    Food might still end up sucking, but attempting better fare = greater cost and an uptick in prices (their prices are still super reasonable in my opinion)

  • Ken Metzger
    11/07 11:37 AM

    hackles:  So why shouldn’t downtown have inexpensive fare?  I personally think we could use more places like the Rockford downtown.  Fresh quality ingredients do not always have to be expensive.
    (This is not in response to the Oxford, which I hope does well)

  • hackles10
    11/07 12:01 PM

    I totally agree that fresh/quality ingredients don’t need to mean expensive food. 

    Im just saying when opening a location on Fayetville street, for that amount of cash outlay…the only way to have the food prices be any less expensive would be to sacrifice quality.  12-17 for a full English style dinner (with 6-9 dollar apps/salads) is just not that expensive this day and age.

    Just seemed like people were starting to go the direction of complaining about the prices at this place, and I just wanted to voice my opinion that they aren’t unreasonable at all!

    The Oxford having reasonable prices and Downtown needing more fresh/local/reasonably priced establishments are not mutually exclusive issues!

  • Christian
    11/07 12:02 PM

    As promised I wanted to give my opinion of The Oxford after my visit Wednesday night. First impression was of how big the place is. I had eaten brunch at Yancy’s before and I thought G and his group did a great job sprucing the place up with bold paint, elegant dinner tables, and a classy looking bar with all the big screen TVs. There were a scattering of people at the bar, but otherwise the place was fairly empty. I’m sure it picks up on the weekend nights. Unfortunately, I was in the mood for a Brittish beer, but both the Carlsberg and Boddington’s taps were out! This was a huge letdown and practiclaly unforgiveable in my opinion. I know the Oxford just opened and is still be figuring the logistics out, but come on, you can’t promote yourself as a legitimate Brittish gastropub and then run out of all your beer! To be fair, there are plenty of other options and I had little problem switching to Konnigsburg (by the bottle - $4) and Harp (on draft). Since we got there after 10pm, we were limited to the late night menu (which is a good thing! I like seeing bars serving food late night). I thought the smoked chicken empanadas were delicious; they reminded me of the samosas i used to get at the quickie marts on Gloucester Road in London. I will definitely be back to the Oxford, especially on a weekend night.

  • Ken Metzger
    11/07 12:05 PM

    hackles, I thought you said that if one isn’t willing to pay $12-$17, then one shouldn’t be eating downtown?

  • MMI
    11/07 12:09 PM

    “Bingo” to Metzger.

    Why assume that “less expensive” and “cheap” are the same thing.  I was simply making a point that costing more does not mean better quality.  You sure **I’m** the one with faulty logic there, chippy?

    You’d be surprised how much less fresh & in-season costs.  A little bit of careful menu planning and decent turnover and you can have fresh ingredients without losing much to spoilage.

    Thanks for insinuating that I like Olive Garden.  I’ll see you on the dueling grounds for that one!  :p

  • hackles10
    11/07 12:10 PM

    On Fayetville Street, @ a restaurant with this decor/quality, for DINNER, yeah…I stand by my statement.  Look elsewhere.

    I honestly ate at Pei Wei for lunch yesterday and it was just under $10, I got a tea, plain chicken dish with white rice.  And their rent is probably about 3k less than Oxford per month. 

    You can’t even go to McDonalds these days for much under $6. 

    I just really hate people that start tearing down a place based on its prices when they are totally reasonable.  Of course I would love to pay $7 for every dinner I eat downtown, I am far from wealthy, but thats just not realistic!

  • Jedidiah
    11/07 12:13 PM

    Check back on New Raleigh later in the day and I’ll have a great addition to this conversation.

  • hackles10
    11/07 12:18 PM

    Olive Garden comment wasn’t meant to be taken personally by anyone, honestly had just had a funny convo with someone about neverending pasta and breadsticks for $7.99 or whatever it is and it was the first thing that popped in my head. 

    My only point was, no matter what prices are set at, everyone always screams “CHEAPER” or “wow pricey”, etc. 

    3 hot dogs at Roast grill with a coke =$7
    One special sushi roll at Sushi Blues =$10-12
    Mellow Mushroom Pizza = $15-20 (medium and up with toppings)

    If 12-17 for a full sit down meal, at a cool gastro pub with great beer and decor makes your wallet cringe and your palms sweat paying the bill, then you are in the wrong place.

  • MMI
    11/07 01:58 PM

    Chill out, chippy.  the Olive Garden comment was exactly what started this.  Don’t get your “hackles” up.  ;) 


    No one is tearing down the Oxford.  If you’ll note, the early scuttlebutt was that prices were higher than $20, and that this was outside the definition of a traditional Pub.  Micah has since elaborated on the definition, and early reviews (from Jed) placed the pricing at between $10-$20.  Conversation had turned to the positive until you went and pissed in our cornflakes.


    Summary: Oxford = likely good.  Hackles = pissy and insulting.

  • hackles10
    11/07 02:11 PM

    Haha….you actually triggered most of it with your “most items should be in the 8-15 dollar range”  Based on what? how did you come to this decision.  Are you a restaranteur?  Did you go have a pint and take a look at their books?  Are you up on their lease terms?  Are you usinc comparables in the area?  Have you even sat down and had a meal there? 

    Understand you don’t want everything to be over $20, but you went out of your way to offer your own guidance of what the prices should be. I am merely commenting that the pricing at this place is reasonable!

    I am pumped about this place, and I was very positive, even stopped by there on their second night to check it out.  I hope everyone, and I mean EVERYONE supports this place.  Its really cool to have this type of establishment in Raleigh, and I guess I wanted to nip any “overpriced” whisper campaign in the bud.  That is all, nothing personal to anybody.  I am back to talking about the food and beer from now on, and looking forward to Jedidiahs comments!

  • bmcclain
    11/07 02:28 PM

    Peace, Love, and Sunday brunch with EPL and Carlsberg!!

  • MMI
    11/07 02:29 PM

    *sigh*  Read the thread again, but this time be sure to read it as a progression.

    [paraphrasing]

    <u>Me</u>: Heard the prices were above $20.  Is this true?  Charging more is fine, but not in the spirit of true “pub” fare.
    <u>Jed</u>: Entrees are actually between $10-$20+.
    <u>Me</u>: Great!  That is a welcome correction.
    <u>Micah</u>: Also, the creation of the term “GastroPub” infers a slightly higher level of food & service.
    <u>Me</u>: Ah, that further clarifies things.  Thanks!


    Basically, you let your enthusiasm for the place overwhelm your reading comprehension, then had to get snarky about it by implying that none of us is willing to pay for quality.  The initial POINT was that the “Pub” designation implies more moderate pricing and some measure of comfort food.  It was about the label, not the price.  Jed fixed the price question, and Micah clarified the label.  It was done until you came flying in from the back.

  • MMI
    11/07 02:30 PM

    (and apparently HTML tags do not all work on New Raleigh)  lol

  • hackles10
    11/07 02:34 PM

    Bronco, I will meet you up there for brunch, but if my bill goes over $15 its on you.  Im bringing a crispy Hamilton along with his good friend Honest Abe.  If that doesn’t suffice my Sunday Brunch will heretofore be relegated back to the K&W Cafeteria roast beef special, because thats good food at the right price!

  • Jedidiah
    11/07 03:25 PM

    Let’s move the lunch price conversation here

  • carolinablue22
    11/10 02:28 AM

    Wow, I feel like most of the previous dialogue has been totally useless regarding The Oxford.  Glad I didn’t read your jabber.  The Cxford looks amazing and I’m excited to try it out soon.  Too bad they were out of Boddington’s when you were there, Christian, but opening up a new place is extremely difficult and you have numerous hiccups to sort out, so I’d be forgiving the first couple of weeks.

  • MMI
    11/10 01:51 PM

    Mmm…Boddington’s…

  • dubedo
    11/10 02:10 PM

    Had dinner at the Oxford on Friday.  The space is huge!  It is kind of pub-themed rather than a real pub - like someone hired an expensive interior decorator and said “make it look like a British pub, but nicer.”  But, the food was solid and the prices were reasonable.  I had a spinach salad and the hummus (each $7-8), my husband had a salmon pasta dish ($15) that had crispy salmon over lots of bright fresh veggies and noodles in a nice garlic/olive oil presentation - a refreshing change from the tired cream sauces in local restaurants of this type.  We started with the roasted potato wedges with garlic aioli, which were hot, crispy, salty and completely delicious.  They were still working out some kinks in the service, but the eagerness to please was obvious and the mistakes forgivable.  There are a number of large flat-screens around the perimeter of the restaurant - I think this would be an excellent place to watch a game.  My only complaint was that my beer (Allagash White draft) was $6.  That seems high to me, for this area.  (My husband’s Guinness was $5, which is OK as far as I’m concerned.)

  • Acree
    11/12 04:24 PM

    I ate at the Oxford last night and was impressed. I got the fried goat cheese salad, my friend got the crab-stuffed shrimp, and we shared the fried avocados. Everything was excellent. For half the appetizer (no problem splitting checks!), the salad, and a Carlsberg plus tip I paid $22. I am usually really cheap when it comes to food and I thought it was totally worth it. I didn’t even mind the TVs because they weren’t in your face.

    I really want them to use all that extra space in the front for dancing. Please, Oxford? There is plenty of room for a DJ!

  • Segaregis
    12/05 02:12 PM

    What a bunch of WHOEY!

  • MMI
    12/05 02:54 PM

    Could be possibly be a little more specific?

  • MMI
    12/05 03:40 PM

    Err…that’s “Could YOU possibly be more specific?”  Damned brain…

  • Ben Garland
    12/20 12:35 PM

    We went to the Oxford last night and had a very poor experience. First of all, we are vegetarian and there was next to nothing on the menu for us to choose, but this wasn’t the worst of it (and before you ask, we went for a friend’s birthday and did not have any choice in the location).

    First, we ordered our beers. It took them at least five minutes to bring them to our table. Meanwhile, one of our friends ordered his beer after us and received it within about 2 minutes (before we got ours).

    Next, we ordered a cup of tomato soup and a house salad as our entrees (we both got the same thing). The waitress asked if we wanted them separate or brought out together. We said bring them together please. My girlfriend also asked for the ranch dressing and I chose the balsamic.

    Well they brought out our soup about 10 minutes before the salad. Then when the salad came, they gave us both balsamic dressing (no ranch for the gf). Plus the salad was very stingy in portions, barely including any tomato, cucumber, or onion at all. It was mostly mixed greens that looked like they came out of a bag—very dry and wilted, not fresh.

    We looked around at the other entrees on the table (the steak, fish, etc that our friends ordered) and the portions looked very small as well. Now we are not ones to go for huge portions like you get at chain restaurants (which we do NOT frequent) but this was a bit ridiculous especially at this high price.

    The most insulting part of the night was that our waitress paid NO attention to us. She did not introduce herself, or try to be friendly, or tell us about any specials (I’m guessing there are none?). Very rude and robotic.

    To top it all off since we were in a party of 10 we had to pay an automatic 18% tip. If it wasn’t for that I would have tipped about 5% for the lousy service and food (and I NEVER do this, usually I tip 20-25%).

    I guess that’s what happens when the waitstaff is not responsible for actually earning a tip.

    For comparison, we have been to many restaurants with a similar price scale ($20+ per person) and have a pretty good idea of what level of service and food quality to expect for that price. The Oxford has worse service than places that charge half, and the food isn’t as good either (I had a better meal at Mitch’s Tavern for lunch and it only cost me $12, including a beer).

    Hell, we went down to the Raleigh Times bar afterward and had better service there, even though we only ordered a couple beers. Nice, friendly waitress who actually seemed concerned about our satisfaction. Who would have thought.

  • miamiblue
    12/20 01:18 PM

    Ben, sorry you had a bad experience. I’ve only had a beer at Oxford on a Saturday afternoon, so have no experience with the food or the service on a busy night. However, it has been a rare occasion that I’ve been at any bar or restaurant on a Friday night with a large group and gotten a beer within 2 minutes of ordering - including Raleigh Times, where I’ve had horrible service while sitting at the bar on a weekend afternoon when it was not busy. I didn’t come on here and bash the place because of it, since I realize that not every day is a perfect day in the service industry.

    In fact, some beers are poured differently than others, and if poured properly can take several minutes - Guinness is a prime example. You will not get a properly poured Guinness in under 7 minutes.

    I’m not going to defend the server for any other inattentiveness, but 5 minutes for a beer is not that big of a deal, really. And 18% gratuity included for groups of 6 or more is pretty typical of any eating establishment in this town, as well as most other places in the US.

  • Ben Garland
    12/20 02:53 PM

    Thanks for the reply. I’m not exactly sure if our beer took 5 minutes or 10. It was definitely longer than I am used to waiting, to the point where we were actually wondering if they forgot that we ordered them (especially when our friend ordered his a few minutes after us and received it before we got ours). For what it’s worth, we’ve been to many other bars in this town and have a pretty good feel for how long it usually takes to receive a drink. Maybe it was an anomaly, but when taken into consideration with the rest of our experience… well.


    Anyhow, yes I am also aware of the general practice of automatic tips for large parties. I was just saying that in this case it was rather insulting, because I felt like our party was given bad service and the automatic tip may or may not have been partly responsible for this. If they would have been held accountable and had to actually earn the tip, perhaps we would have gotten better service? Who knows.

  • Ben Garland
    12/20 02:57 PM

    Also, this is probably being a bit picky, but all of us were a bit surprised to hear a British pub playing Sweet Home Alabama. It seemed a bit inappropriate and we all thought they should go with the theme and play only Brit bands. Maybe that’s just us, though.


    Listing the prices in faux Pounds was a bit odd, too. (They used the £ sign on the prices, but it was actually dollars—confusing).

  • Lisa Jeffries
    12/20 03:12 PM

    IMHO, the 18% auto gratuity should never start before 8 people. 6 is more of a norm and should not impact service.

    Also, in regards to the pounds for pricing, I thought it was a cool touch.

    And I still like hearing Sweet Home Alabama… but I’m southern and like my country and rock music… so I’ll take that any day.

  • miamiblue
    12/21 04:04 PM

    I definitely understand what it is like to wait a long time for drinks at a restaurant. It seems that restaurants sometimes take much longer because they are also serving food, but sometimes it is just flat out due to bad service. Hopefully your experience was just an anomaly, as I would hate to see another business fail in that space.

    I am definitely not a fan of the automatic 18% gratuity thing, either (in any restaurant), but I can somewhat understand if it is a truly large group (larger than 8 as Lisa mentioned). In fact, I have received better service in countries were tipping is considered an insult (which, ironically, includes the UK), so I can agree there. Sometimes tips encourage good service, sometimes not. I guess the only recourse in the case of bad service with an automatic gratuity is to make a complaint to the manager right then and there.

  • Paul
    01/14 09:30 PM

    I had Lunch at the Oxford today. The decor was very nice and the service was good. The food on the other hand was just OK. I had the fish and chips, which I would have expected to be great in a pub. The fish was a little soggy (not crisp) the fies were just warm the tartar however was excellent. I agree with some of the other posters that its a bit pricey, fish and an Irish beer was $18.00, kind of steep for lunch. I hope they do well and would probably go back.

  • EM
    02/07 10:15 PM

    We just finished eating at the Oxford.  Singularly unremarkably food with absolutely bad service.  The reaction of the manager was unbelievable for an establishment seeking to cultivate a return clientele.  I cannot recommend.  For the downtown revitalization effort, I am pulling for them, but am not counting on them being around as soon as the next new place opens.

  • kevin
    06/27 09:14 PM

    The worst club ever! The manager is a complete jerk. Tells me I dont belong and I need to leave because I am Irish!!!!! Then talks junk and tries to get the bouncers to fight me! WTF!!! The next time that curly-haired jerk of a manager sees me is when I treat about 50-60 of raleighs homeless people in there for drinks and food!! LOL I think the manager should be fired before you guys get sued!!!
    Oh and next time you talk junk and then get your bouncers on me because I am Irish! You will understand how a law-suit works!!!!!!

  • Micah
    06/28 06:10 PM

    kevin, i don’t care for the oxford.  i would, however, love for you to go and attempt to file a lawsuit against them claiming harassment because you are irish.  sometimes the DA’s and clerks get a little bored down there, and that would give them a little laugh to help them through their day.

  • kevin
    06/28 07:16 PM

    LOL Yea right! Just think they should hire new mangement. The guy has even caused past emplyees to seek other employment. You know a place like that should have known better than to hire people to run a place that treats people like trash. I dont go out seeking an establishment that provides service like that! LOL No one does! Ask around.. read the reviews.

  • MMI
    06/28 07:44 PM

    I’m laying $10 that Kevin used to BE one of those employees.

  • smitty
    06/28 09:01 PM

    Didn’t you see the sign?  “NO IRISH”

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