I take a look inside Tap Social’s latest venture – The White House on Abingdon Road – and have a catch up with Tess Taylor on the plan over the coming months.
This new venue has been a long time in the making due to challenges of COVID-19. In my last catch up with Tess, all plans were focused on a Christmas opening; but as further restrictions came in, getting all the work finished was sadly not an option.
What can you expect?
The outdoor area opened on the morning of Monday the 12th of April. The familiar Horse Box, which has been keeping customers happy for many months now, will continue to be the main point to purchase your coffee and treats during the day, but from Thursday – Sundays the Garden menu will be available which will focus on seasonal tasty plates. These have a British tapas feel to them – can’t wait for those as I am sure they will go amazingly with the beer! Tess mentioned a stout sourdough which sounds incredible. These dishes will be available by table service.
If you just fancy a few drinks; tinnies and pints will be available from the Horse Box from 5pm Mon – Wed, but drinks are also available in line with food service times and beyond. Check out the website for full details of opening hours, dining and drinking. You can also book your table online from here – recommended!
A lot of effort has gone into the outdoor area which boasts 25 tables which easily seat 6. These new tables are also made of recycled plastic – nice! Much of the area will be undercover from either parasols or the purpose build cover. Just remember to wrap up warm. The new ‘loopy bike racks’ – which is my way to describe them – feature along the back of the garden. These offer plenty of bike storage, and encourage customers to cycle – just remember not to ride home after too many pints!
As with their Botley Taproom, the focus is on welcoming everyone, being a family and pet friendly. Come on down to have some good food, excellent beer and be social.
What about inside
I had the privilege to take a look around the inside of the venue – fingers crossed for the May indoor opening. The improved layout and additional bars will allow around 150 people inside. It was amazing to see the life Tess and the team have breathed into the old White House pub. Some original features have been retained, such as the gorgeous gold lanterns upstairs. The fireplaces have been revamped – I can really imagine having some great food and drink in front of the fire. Upstairs, you also get an amazing view across Brasenose College sports ground, as well as having some fantastic artwork from Huntercoombe Prison – some of this artwork will be familiar if you have purchase cans of Tap beer. I, for one, can’t wait to get back indoors to see the finished pub.
Mentioning Huntercoombe, with restrictions easing, Tap have re-engaged with the prison for staffing and training programmes which is amazing to see. This continues to build on the fab work they have been doing in the arena of rehabilitation.
Tess was keen to also talk about the not to be forgotten, Botley Taproom. Details of food vendors and potential music performances have been published all the way up until the end of August with some amazing suppliers. Is it weird I am looking forward to sitting in an industrial estate to drink beer and eat food? Nah, I think a lot of people will say the same.
Keep an eye out on their socials for more details of a potential north Oxfordshire venue coming soon. You may also remember a mention of a bar in the Covered Market. This is still on the cards but moving a little slower than anticipated due to COVID-19 restrictions, but it is still very much moving forward.
All these venues, and the demand for canned Tap beer, has presented a number of challenges for the brewing team. To keep the beer flowing, plans are in place to expand the Kennington brewery. Keep up the good work Tap Social!
The White House, Abingdon Road, Oxford – 01865 236330