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Goose At The OVT, Selly Oak

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user reviews of the Goose At The OVT, Selly Oak

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Has some reasonable beers on, Adnams, Punk IPA etc.. Wouldn`t call it a real student pub though...they`re all in the S`oak. smattering of youngsters but mainly old blokes and shifty types. Staff too laid back and regular good for a stranger in town!
Blastbeat - 13 Apr 2016 14:34
Something has gone very wrong with this pub ever since Stonegate pub co took it over (along with all other M&B "Goose" pubs) The food is still the same crap but only 75% dearer. Constantly changing staff -all students - are vacuous and have no incling how to serve beer. Mindful that this is a student pub it is really bad considering I have been drinking in here for the thick end of Thirty years! Real ale - don't go there
tankard - 12 Jul 2014 23:19
Has a Spring Ale festival at the moment until 5 May. Otherwise for those going in during the morning, coffee and a bacon butty for £1.79. Formerly the Old Varsity Tavern, tiling outside says Holt's Bournbrook.
rainlight - 26 Apr 2012 11:05
One of 2 pubs in Selly Oak on the Bristol Road that has real ale on tap, the Goose is also one of the cheapest. Why? Because the ale is mostly pretty bad. I've heard they don't clean the pipes out properly, which would explain it. However, it is VERY cheap. The music's never too loud and the food isn't bad. The toilets are horrendous though. Avoid the beer on tap (or just hold your nose when you drink it) and it's a good, cheap pub. Otherwise, you're better off going elsewhere.
mango1902 - 8 Jun 2011 18:43
superb value once again from the goose brand,i never associate this chain with decent ale but my perceptions are beginning to change especially now they have gained cask marque status,five ales when visited feat marstons pedigree,marstons epa(£1.59),wells bombardier,t Taylor landlord,and skinners "paddy's pride"(£2.10) which i opted for ,the three barmaids were very pleasing to the exe like the prices,cannot fault 8/10
fat_beer_badger - 20 Mar 2011 16:04
Typical Goose pub. Cheap ale, well kept and slightly grubby interior. Cheapest pub in Selly Oak though, as other contibutors have said. Very busy on Saturday nights.
wbafc_beer - 28 Nov 2009 09:03
Not only are the drinks cheap - started doing two meals for a fiver. that's now cheaper than spoon's.
wafflingdwarf - 16 Nov 2009 21:20
Still don't know how they do it:
Spitfire 1.69
Carlsberg 1.65
Southern Comfort and mixer 99p .... yes 99p
Curry Thursday (pint and curry all day)4.99p
Tetley (not a bad pint 1.39... yes 1.39p
No i don't work there or involved in pubco, just pass through the University of Birmingham campus ever couple of weeks from work, and I pass the front door before catch the bus outside.
Always stop for a pint or two at these prices.
wafflingdwarf - 16 Nov 2009 21:08
As previous contributor, excellent pint of Brians SA for the incredible cheap price of £1.59. O.K its severed in plastic glasses but at this price, why can't other pubs offer real ale at this price ?
wafflingdwarf - 13 Apr 2009 10:03
The Goose now serves beer in plastic glasses, apparently police instruction for next couple of weeks after multiple incidents.
Have to say the Black Sheep at 1.59 a pint was still gud even in plastic

seaman_max - 10 Apr 2009 11:30
I too had an experience similar to johns at the ovt selly oak.Having frequented the pub probably 2-3 times a week for a couple of months,everything was good,good prices, nice atmos,mostly nice staff.I was there yesterday,with my mother and the father to my children,when my daughter who is 19 came in,i went to the bar and bought her a drink,shortly after however a barmaid came over and asked my daughter for I.D to which she immediately pulled out her citizen card with the pass hologram only to be informed by the staff that this (especially purchased because she holds neither passport or drivers licence) was not acceptable.This i find totally out of order,as why if she has no car or is not considering going abroad would she need either a passport or d.l.And the staff leave much to be desired as why her dad tried to state his case,dave(i want to be manager) gave him his ticket.I told him i would come back on a day when the manager(the organ grinder)was in as did not want to discuss it with the monkey,to which he took offence and threatened to give me mine.I did not specify who the monkey was but dave if the cap fits mate! weeks earlier the same member of staff called the police on a man who had his kids in the beer garden at the rear, this man also trying to complain that they were not allowed even in the garden,at the ovt you are wasting your time trying to complain or state your case.shame it would be a real nice place,but for some of the staff.
dragonand - 29 Jul 2008 21:55
great pub with a great selection of cheap drinks which include wines, real ales, beers and spirits. this twined with a great bar menu and a great team leads to a great experiance.
eddieatkins - 9 Jul 2008 11:10
Me and my friends used to frequent this pub. It had good prices, so we liked it.

This was until the other day when we were playing on the quiz machine and won 11 pounds and were very happy. All we needed to do is finish our remaining credit off, then the machine will allow us to take our winnings out. So we were losing on purpose because it was close to closing time, and this way we could get rid of the credit left and thus collect our winnings.

The problem began when a member of the bar staff that was waiting for us to leave said that we had to leave straight away, even though it wasn't past closing time.

We pointed out to him that it wasn't closing time yet and that we had 11 pounds in the machine and that we will leave as soon as we got our money.

All of a sudden, he got really angry and insisted that we leave straight away. We, in turn, said that we will leave very soon and we explained to him that the machine won't let us take the money until we lost our credit. Bear in mind that at this time it was still before closing time.

He then lost control and started shouting at us telling to leave, and them he immediately proceeded to grab one of my friends and put him in a headlock! We were all very surprised and alarmed by this. I asked the guy to calm down and to let go of our friend. He then twisted round and threw our friend on the floor and then attacked one of my other friends. I intervened and broke up the commotion by physically pushing him off my friend and then the manager arrived in a hurry. At the sight of the manager we relaxed and thought everything will soon be settled and we could go home. Little did we know that the manager himself would turn to attack us! We tried to defuse the situation but they both got progressively more violent and we realised that if we fought back we would be the ones to get in trouble with the police because we had been drinking and they were the pub staff, who the police would sympathise for. We kept as calm as we could in that kind of situation and we backed out of the pub. After we got out the manager stood in the doorway and began to taunt us by calling us names and saying that he wanted to fight my friend. We were very angry at him, but we said nothing and walked away towards the taxis.

My extended family work in pubs. Some as staff, some as gaffers, some even own pubs. I have never ever in my 32 years of age have ever seen anything like this. It was pure rage directed at us without provocation. We've been going to that pub for almost a decade and we didn't do anything wrong. I am writing this to let everybody know what happened there and who was responsible, so that everybody is completely aware of what sort of people operate that pub.

So much for customer loyalty and basic fairness. I guess, in retrospect, I feel quite sorry for them. Especially for the pub manager, who should know better than to provoke customers who have been drinking and were outnumbering them by 4 people. If we were less restrained we would have beaten the crap out of him and his stupid barman, but we had the intelligence to know better. One day his luck is going to run out and he will learn a very hard lesson indeed.

We will never set foot in there again. After all, there are plenty more pubs to go to in Selly Oak.
John_ - 8 May 2008 02:15
I used to drink here when I lived in Selly oak, never a bad atmosphere - little friction that I could detect between locals and students. Bit of a dive as you'd expect from a goose with a smattering of hard core jakeys inside and out, mixed with young waffley uni types. But I wouldn't make a trek to visit it now, I'm sure it's still sound
djugly - 28 Feb 2008 18:41
The only pub in Selly Oak where non-students and students seem to rub along together. I preferred it when there was no music, and old books on the shelves at the back, though. Door staff aren't the nicest.
daveinbrum - 28 Dec 2007 12:28
Old Varsity Tavern
Selly Oak
Bristol Road

(Visual Exterior)

Typical Victoria building – “say it loud, say it proud”, of that era, large, white and brash, and definitely proud of its stature. It stands on the corner of Bristol Road and Grange Road (pedestrian entrance to the University of Birmingham).
Original built as the Bournbrook Hotel with squared column supports surrounding the main entrance door, with flora relief carved into the stone work.
Above front windows can be seen ‘Holt Brewery’ carved into the stone work, indicating a long past brewery. The pub has had number of name changes ‘Flapper & Firkin’ ‘Old Varsity Tavern’ today its part on the Goose Pub chain (Mitchell’s & Butlers Plc).’Goose at the OVT’


The pub consisting of one L –shaped lower ground floor bar/lounge, high above you the vaulted ceiling of stucco decorative plaster relief work, with pendant drop lighting.
Walls are of blue/green sparkling tile work probably Minton.

On the far wall picture tiles depecipts a Mediterranean, beaded and bare chested Gent reclining, in his lion cloth, obviously winding down from a hard days graft, drawing down on a flagon of life giving nectar.
His mistress creases his broad shoulders, whilst giving him relief! (Steady! Steady! you’re a little in front of me here) from the Days toil.

Below is the inscription ‘VENI BIBI VOMUI’ Literature means ‘I came, I drank, and I threw up’. Appropriate for a Students pub.

The bar is divided by the left-hand side with its Library of reference books, Chesterfield sofas, on a raised platform, this is prodomantyley the realm of Students , whilst to your right are high round pedestal tables, with even higher stools to match, This domain of the more established cliental, of a wonderful cocofnera of colourful characters,. Who can gain line of sight of William Hills the bookmakers, through leaded windows whilst enjoying a pint or two, before placing a flutter.
A melting pot of cultures and age, a community pub. Here both cultures study; one for the turf, and the other possible for the bar.

At the time of my visit (Monday Afternoon) ten hand pumps where available, but only two where in use ; Timothy Taylor’s Landlord Bitter (4.5%) (Check) and Banks Original Mild (3.4%) at £1.35p a pint, very quaffable ale.
Guniees, Carling, Banks Bitter, the standard range are all avalabe.

Large selection, of food available including breakfast – dirt cheap, how’s this for cheap burger and chips, pint of Fosters - £3.50p !

May be not a pub you would spend all Evening in, but its brilliant at what it does, a rendezvous point, meeting place. Before pushing on into the City, or enjoy a local Restaurant.
Its cheap, respected and quaffable ale, that’s what it says on the door and it, delivers, get in there and enjoy.

Three SKY screen showing news and sport.

Cash link machine,

Credit Cards taken.

Bus-link: all services in and out of the Birmingham City run outside the door, as does the 144 (Old Midland Red service) to and from Worcester.

Rail-link: Selly Oak Station is on the frequent Cross City Line Service, 3 mins walk to wards City.

Opening Hours: 11 – 11 Sun –Thursday
11 – 12am Fri and Sat

wafflingdwarf - 4 Aug 2007 23:07
Been coming here quite regulary for the last few years. Cant say a bad thing really. Its not the best pub but its certainly the cheapest. Great starter pub or even for a cheap session. Nice food at decent prices and good service. Its clean and rarely gets trouble so all in all 7/10
seaman_max - 21 May 2007 10:30
the words that allways come to mind when i am in this pub are cheap and cheerful.
i dont mean this in a bad way, the food isnt amazing, but it isnt bad and is an affordable to snack and drink.
the drinks selection again isnt amazing but again has that affordable edge to it.
i dont think i would go here alone but it does make a good meeting place for a group of friends. it is an easy place to while away a few hours with friends without breaking the bank
slugboy - 28 Jan 2007 07:02
Really enjoyed this pub when i was at university ... but could never understand why. Locals and student are all present, but don't mix at all ... never seen any trouble though. Interior isn't great and beer garden is small, staff quick enough and polite but thats as far as it goes.

Always a lively atmosphere and a fantastic range of beers at the cheapest of prices. It remains my favorite pub in Selly Oak despite its short-comings! Must be all the hazy memories!
UKcharlie - 30 Oct 2006 17:42
smelly pub always an atmosphere in there wouldnt go there agin
anonymous - 30 Oct 2006 00:13
As noted the clientele is a glorious hotchpotch of locals and students who mix like oil and water. However the reason it is so popular is because it is dirtily cheap, both for beer and food. Ale prices start at £1.20 and lagers like Stella and 1664 all cost less than £2-a-pint. Burger & chips and a pint (of cheapest beer/lager) will set you back a whopping £3.50... and main meals come in 3 sizes!
On the plus side it is the least pretentious pub ever; there is no dress code, strictly casual and/ or paint/oil/grime stained work overalls. Indeed I have been in for lunch, and observed locals sleeping peacefully in their seats, and then returned later that night to find that, at closing, the same people sitting in the same places... often still asleep.
Staff are friendly.
Recommended if you are a student and/ or on minimum wage.
Dr_Cirrohsis - 18 Feb 2006 18:54
You pay for what you get with the drinks. The bar staff are nice and polite though..
nellie_uk - 3 Jan 2006 14:40
I am afraid this pub, in trying to be everything to all men, achieves nothing to any man! One of the closest pubs to the University the clientele is a mix of students and older selly oak residents. Food is standard pub fair from this chain, but the beer is nothing special.

If you are in Selly Oak you could go here, but I would recommend a walk off the student trail.

pwakeley - 24 Aug 2005 16:20
Horrible smelly pub. This is the nearest pub to the university, and since the nearby locals pub The Brook burned down, both locals and students infest this dreadful establishment meaning that there is always a lot of unpleasant tension and not a very welcoming atmosphere. They do serve real ale, but they must store it really badly or maybe they don't clean their pipes. Because the beer here tastes really really nasty. One to avoid
Muzthing - 7 Mar 2005 13:21
Been drinking in this pub for years and still remain to drink in there. Great atmosphere, great beer and great food!!! Polite and helpful staff and management. Worth at least a pint or 3...
selly_oak_faithfull - 23 Jan 2005 22:14
This pub has an ability to draw you in. Although not the most aesthetically pleasing in the area, a quick pint at 3pm can end up with you staggering home after last orders. I don't know why it's good. It just is.
funklord - 7 Jan 2005 16:37
Wierd mix here. Crazy old dudes drinking Bishops Bum and students in there who've also realised it's Bit scummy around the edges but you pays your money..
Chris - 22 Sep 2004 15:04
OVT £2.50 on Paddys Day for a Guinness and a double jameson's, bloody love it, cant remember it, but bloody love it
James - 8 Apr 2004 10:42
My favourite pub in Selly Oak, a few drunk old men being propped up by the bar but they serve good bitter!
Eddie - 22 Mar 2004 23:09
its ok but its a bit of a old bitter drinker's pub compared to other pubs in the selly oak area. its very good for food and prices are reasonable, its somewhere to go if you want to escape students. i give it 6 marks out of 10
steven malhi - 22 Mar 2004 17:55
A cool pub right by the uni. Sells good pub food and cheap beers. Good atmosphere and always busy. Set in a nice old building too.
Rich - 2 Jan 2004 14:54

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