First things first. If you were a fan of the old Oxford Tavern, we should tell you that following its refurbishment (courtesy of Drink 'n' Dine, the folks behind The Norfolk, The Carrington and House of Crabs), the naked ladies are gone. So if that's what you're after, we'll give you a moment to leave. Okay. For the rest of you, Petersham now has a fun boozer with a shady beer garden, pool tables, and more booths than that restaurant from Seinfeld.
The sign in the window still promises 'Live Girls' but you'll soon realise that the public bar has been tampered with – a leap of leopards, a large falcon and a sparkly mirror ball sit where the strippers used to strut. Nearby is a large taxidermied bear, who while slightly frightening, appears to be making a pie. There are booths out the back in what it still called Rita's Gaming Lounge. No sign of Rita, but there's a whopping bar facing a mosaic of bottle tops spelling out 'Oxford'. Out in the beer garden there's a great big smoker soon to see duty cranking out American-style ribs.
At the bar, there's Kosciuszko and James Squire on tap, as well as tinnies of Budweiser, Moritz and Rio Bravo. Bloody Marys come three different ways, including one with peri peri sauce. The cocktail list also sports a Banana Hammock (rye, banana liqueur, lemon and soda) and a Sundowner (gin, Antica, grapefruit, lime and bitters).
For eats, try adorable little cheeseburgers, buffalo cauliflower balls or BBQ corn coated with popcorn and Doritos. Larger feeds include BBQ pork rolls slathered in chilli sauce and a chicken schnitzel the size of a small island. In a nod to the pub's past, dessert is the Jelly Wrestle. It comes with jellies, ice cream, caramel popcorn, raspberry sauce, whipped cream and cherries on top. List price includes gloves and the threat that you won't be provided cutlery. There's no mention of how you'll feel in the morning.
The Oxford Tavern
1 New Canterbury Road, Petersham
(02) 8019 9351
Mon to Thu noon – midnight
Fri to Sat noon – 3am
Sun noon - 10pm