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Cocktail time!

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Have you noticed how difficult it is to find a good cocktail bar outside the M25?

 Maybe there just isn’t the desire for them out here, but sometimes – on a girl’s night out, or a birthday – it’s fun to get a bit glammed up and watching a bartender shaking his maracas. Along with my other regular moan – the lack of really good authentic tapas bars out this way (I mean, don’t you think…?!) – the quest for a decent cocktail bar is my major time-consumer.

The restaurant (left) and bar (right) at The Spread Eagle, Thame

Following its refurb last year,  The Spread Eagle in Thame has put a local marker in the sand. It can’t, shouldn’t and, in fairness, doesn’t try to come over too cosmopolitan. The night I went the young bartender was more Tom Thumb than Tom Cruise. But it does have a rather natty cocktail list, a small bar area that can feel buzzy quickly and an enjoyably OTT faux gilt interior design that makes it a fun stop in itself or on the way to a restaurant.

The Spread Eagle's Georgian exterior

There are other cocktail bars I want to try out – a decent one in Great Missenden apparently, a couple in Oxford, one in Beaconsfield – so I’ll report on the 5 best soon. If you know any others in Bucks/Oxon (or even further afield) that you think should be included, please let me know and check them out. I am nothing if not a martyr to the cause.

In the meantime, I’d recommend the Spread Eagle Margaritas. Lethal.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon