The Oxford Tavern
American BBQ is out and fancy snacks are in at the newly revamped Oxford Tav in Petersham. The much-loved Inner West local has come a fair way since its cheap booze and braless barmaids era, having undergone renovations about a decade ago—and now boasting a swish new facelift.
Odd Culture Group took over the Petersham pub in 2019, but they've only now brought their distinct vibe to the Tav, all while keeping a few of the old boozer's charms. Expect the same Tudor-style exterior, neon buxom silhouettes as a nod to the strip club days, and the pub's leafy courtyard to look just as lush—but with fresh licks of paint, new furniture, a brand new front bar, and a brighter indoor-outdoor space where a wall separated the dive bar and beer garden.
As for the food, Odd Culture Group Executive Chef James MacDonald has thrown out the Southern BBQ fare—but not the barbecue. Don't worry, Tav old-timers, Black Betty is still smoking up the garden, but instead of ribs and pork belly, she's preparing things like crispy chicken wings, beef brisket pies, and smoked lamb pappardelle.
While pub classics like burgers, schnitty, steak, and Sunday roasts remain on the menu, the obvious menu changes are found on the snack menu. There's taramasalata dip, tempura broccolini with caper shallot dressing, pork and duck terrine, chicken liver pate, and mussels with fermented chilli butter and fries.
For booze, expect party bevs. There's a boozy "slushy program" churning out drinks like the Penichillin—an icy take on the whisky, ginger, and honey classic—and a frozen JD and Coke. Plus, plenty of margaritas will be poured—and, of course, there'll be picklebacks.
You can also expect a dazzling entertainment line-up as part of the Tav's new do, which is complete with a purpose-built movable stage. For a while now, the Tav has been putting on a queer-centric program—and that is set to continue with DJs, parties, and The Dollar Bin Darlings' wildly popular monthly event Show Us Your Tips.
The Oxford Tavern reopens on Friday 1 July and it's offering free picklebacks and $30 off food for the first 200 people through the door. Check out the info here.
Image credit: Kitti Gould