The Oasis Bar, Southampton

First published in What's On Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

So there I was in the Oasis Bar looking at thirty worms rattling around in a plastic box. They were dead, obviously, but that didn’t really make the situation any better. I mean who keeps a box of thirty dead worms for kicks?

Just as I thought things couldn’t get any stranger the barman retrieved a bottle from the shelf behind him.

It was clear and half full with petrol coloured liquid. As he began to explain it was a Mexican spirit called Monte Alban, I noticed another rather pickled looking worm marinating in the bottom of the bottle.It turns out the worm comes floating in a shot of the stuff. The idea being you neck the booze and then gobble the worm like a ravished garden bird. Which is fun, apparently. I was offered to try one but declined – what with being a human being and not a feral pigeon and all that. Instead I went with half a pint of Rekorderlig – a warm Swedish cider served in a German beer hall-style tankard. It was one of those drinks that force you to feel Christmassy – even for a determined Grinch like myself.

The Oasis Bar had made the effort to join the festivities – Christmas trees, table decorations and other Yuletide paraphernalia were dotted around the bar. But that’s not what the place is really about.

The Oasis Bar styles itself on the poolside drinkery of a Spanish holiday resort. The walls are painted in sunset orange, sandy yellow and palm tree trunk brown. The atmosphere is laid back, relaxed and warm.You could imagine working your way through the thirty or so cocktails on the menu or enjoying one of the draught beers while tanning your skin to leather in the baking midday heat.

The Oasis Bar prides itself on offering reasonably priced drinks to its customers with standard beers such as John Smiths and Fosters costing £2.90, premium lagers £3.00 and Guinness £3.10. Shorts are £2.50.To add to the feeling of carefree-beach-bar, each Sunday a live band comes in to play a chilled out acoustic set. The Oasis Bar is also planning to hold Caribbean theme nights into the New Year where customers can drink rum and pig out on Jerk chicken.

With my lunch hour drawing to a close I decided to make a move before I surrendered to more cider. But as I left I noticed a poster attached to the wall: Until you’ve done it with the worm, you haven’t done it at all.

Having enjoyed the Oasis Bar without slurping on bugs and insects, I beg to differ.

The Oasis Bar, 137 High Street, Southampton. Tel: 023 8023 8605.

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