A popular pub in Oxford is to reopen following a revamp but its new name has left drinkers choking on their pints.

Last month social enterprise and craft brewery Tap Social Movement pulled out of running The White House on Abingdon Road after three years, handing over to another independent Oxford-based operator, Dodo Pub Co, which has leased it from Brasenose College.

The pub closed on June 16 and will remain closed until early September for refurbishment work.

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But Dodo's decision to rename the pub The Slow & Steady, after architect Henry Hare, instead of something more traditional has not pleased the city's branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).

Branch spokesman Dave Richardson said it was one of the worst pub renamings he had ever heard.

(Image: Dave Richardson) He added: "I can't say this name inspires me and reaction on Oxford CAMRA's Facebook page has been mainly derisory.

"It's always good when a pub's name references its history but few people who know it as the White House will make that connection.

"Some of Dodo's other pubs make that connection - such as the Rickety Press that recalls the printing industry in Jericho.

"The White House was known as the Folly Bridge Inn for a while and calling it simply The Folly might have been better.

"Whether it's folly to call it The Slow & Steady will only be known in time, but this is one of the worst pub renamings I've come across.

"The other shocker that comes to mind is Oxford's most renamed pub, which I haven't set foot in since it became the Cow and Creek."

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Fellow CAMRA member Matt Bullock said: "How many people actually know Henry Hare was the architect? It’s a very tenuous and odd name. Unless it refers to the traffic outside."

(Image: Photo: Tap Social Movement) Dodo Pub Co said: "We have a new addition to our growing family... The Slow & Steady, named as a homage to the building's architect, Henry Hare will be our fourth Dodo pub in Oxford and number 9 in total!

"Located on Abington Road near Folly Bridge, 'The Slow & Steady' will open its doors in early September 2024, with refurbishment works due to start in early July.

"Dodo Pub Co's quirky, yet welcoming style will run throughout the new pub, alongside our ever-popular menu offering Dodo burgers, authentic slow-rise Neapolitan pizzas, weekend brunch and a variety of sides."

Tap Social Movement expanded rapidly since its foundation in 2016 on the Curtis Industrial Estate in Botley, running very successful events at its taproom.

It operates a second and larger brewing site in Kidlington, the Market Tap bar in Oxford and a bar in Banbury (Lock29), plus the Proof Social bakehouse in Kennington.

With the Berkshire pub also being shut, Abingdon Road now has just one pub open for the time being – the Greene King-owned Duke of Monmouth.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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