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Ox, Parkstone, Poole

81 Commercial Road
BH14 0JB
Phone: 01202722622

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 5 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

E TA left this review about The Ox

Another 'M' bar – a parody of a wine bar trying to be a boutique hotel that feels more like a joke than an actual pub, previously The Central Hotel. Retention of the original floorboards almost makes the whole thing more grotesque. The ground floor of this Victorian former hotel, once a fine local, has been knocked through to form a single large L-shaped bar, with a small wood-floored extension to the long end. The left hand side is mainly laid for diners, while the remainder has faux-chic furniture and a range of glass, plastic and cheap chipboard furniture which has the air of an oversized dolls' house. At the back is a small, tidy paved garden. There is an overwhelming stench of cheap market perfume emanating from the would-be WAGs who totter around precariously on their ridiculously vertiginous stilettos trying to impress overweight men in tracksuit bottoms and trainers. The bar staff, all of whom stand too far away from their David Beckham-endorsed electric razors in the morning, look as though they would be better employed as bouncers at a Sunday school picnic. There is a collection of prints and photos on the walls which were presumably rejected by a local primary school. There are nine lagers and ciders on the electric pumps, while of the 5 stainless steel handpumps, only one was working. This was dispensing Landlord, and it's the very worst I've ever had. The whole place just screams pretentiousness and is truly awful, well worth avoiding when there are so many proper pubs nearby.

On 9th March 2015 - rating: 4
[User has posted 2866 recommendations about 2833 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Ox

I have very fond memories of this place when it was the Central Hotel – a dingy local’s boozer with an upstairs room for live music. Unfortunately, it seemed to be in an irreversible state of decline and it was no major shock to hear that it closed a few years ago. Thankfully, this landmark building has been reopened as a gastro pub, which has necessitated a serious makeover that has left the place looking very different indeed. The front half of the pub is now a smart restaurant full of formally set tables with bright decor, large art prints and an open kitchen at the far end of the room. This was previously the main bar but the servery which ran along the back wall has now vanished. The servery can instead be found in the second room, to the rear right, accessed from Parr Street. This used to be a lounge bar of sorts, but I seem to recall it was often left unopened, occasionally staging acoustic performances. Some smart curved banquettes and very fancy upholstered chairs provide a range of comfortable seating options throughout this room which is split in two by a fireplace and chimney stack, which partially obscures the slightly raised rear section of the room. A large mirror on the back of the chimney makes the bar area look much larger than it really is, whilst the other walls have more of the large art prints seen in the restaurant side. The menu offers food from the grill, with steaks comprising most of the options. We tried some of the burgers and sandwiches and thought they were pretty good.
Upon arriving the four hand pumps only had two clips on, both for Sharp’s Doom Bar, so we ordered up a couple of pints, only to find that the barrel was obviously coming to the end, as the barman had great difficulty pouring them and they remained cloudy. Thankfully, at that very moment, someone popped up from the cellar to inform us that Taylor Landlord was now on and he swapped our pints straight away. The Landlord, I should add, was in tip-top condition and absolutely flew down.
I often lament the loss of live music pubs in Poole/Bournemouth, but with the purpose built ‘Mr Kyps’ venue just behind this place, I suppose its days on the local gig circuit were numbered. It’s nice to see the place open again and although this type of gastro pub isn’t really my thing, it served us well for our lunchtime visit.

On 8th October 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2795 recommendations about 2795 pubs]