O’Neill’s, 4 Friar Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1DB.


All ‘information’ in this review is ‘accurate’ as of February 2016.

You know when you fancy a trip to New York but instead of actually going there, you just eat a tin of hot dogs with your bare hands while watching an old repeat of Taxi? Or when you think about how majestic the Northern Lights must be gazed at through the steam of a magnificent Icelandic geyser, but instead of going, you just turn the thermostat down and fiddle with a laser pen in the shower?

Nope, of course you don’t. Because those are terrible things to do. Which brings us neatly to the idea of drinking down the plastic Irish chain shit-tip O’Neill’s. If you’ve always fancied sipping Guinness in its homeland, the beautiful Emerald Isle of Ireland, then jump on a RyanAir flight and go there. It takes less time than an episode of Tattoo Fixers and costs the same as a pair of Primark chinos.

Or, fuck it – just nip into The Gateway or something. Just don’t go to O’Neill’s. Until you’ve a got urine fetish. But more of that later. Quite a lot more of that later.

“O’Neill’s?” *SIGH* “Yeah, alright. But just for one.”

Location: On the corner of Friar Street and Blagrave Street. Drinkers with vision difficulties can follow the stench of the fetid yellow puddle collection that graces the basement pisspits that staff often jokingly refer to as ‘toilets’.

Drink Selection: Ah, well, it’s jus’ loike bein’ back in de’ muddaland, so it is… In so much as they sell Guinness and Magner’s.

The bar. It’s just like being in Ireland, isn’t it? Only not. Definitely not.

Beer Garden/Smoking Area: Smoke outside on the road or take advantage of perhaps the single most depressing smoking experience open to Reading boozehounds and head out to their little secret smoking area to the right of the bar. It’s basically a nine square foot nicotine dungeon. But at least you can’t smell piddle out there. Every cloud, etc.

Toilets: Right. You know urine, don’t you? That smelly yellow liquid you excrete from your urethra? Good. Well. It’s like the toilets are somehow made of the stuff. The stink is so overpowering that it has an almost hallucinogenic quality. The last time we were in there the effect took hold and instead of being disgusted and leaving, we started thinking about the heritage of the stench. We were smelling generations of different Reading folk’s slashes. It was oddly touching and enough to bring a lump to our throats. A lump which, admittedly, turned out to be vomit. But still.

Martin O'Neill
PLEASE NOTE: This picture of the men’s toilets was taken not long after the place opened. They’ve got significantly worse since then.

Food: Hit and miss. Which, ironically, is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘piss’.

Price: Average.

Martin O'Neill
The chain’s owner, former Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, who was unavailable for comment when we contacted his mistress earlier today.

Atmosphere: A mixture. Some post-work, some drunks, some football types, a lot of idiots. Let’s face it, if you’re actively deciding to go there for a session – whether you’re a watersports fetishist or not – there’s something wrong with you.

Sports? Depending on how long you can hold your breath for, the place is actually half-decent for sport (in the context of Reading). That said, if you can’t get a seat near the big screen at the end, you’ll likely fracture a vertebrae in your neck straining to watch the smaller screens dotted about and mounted ceiling high.

Some wee. Like what O’Neill’s stinks of.

Pub Games: It’s all about pumping Magner’s into people and having them flush it through their systems and onto the floor of the toilets, there’s no time for pissing about (LOL) with fun. Though there is a pool table down at the end now.

Decor: Imagine a chain opened a shit Irish pub decades ago and then never bothered looking after it properly. That.

Two friends, put off by the smell of urine in O’Neill’s, opt for an alternative drinking spot.

Basically, it stinks of piss.


13 thoughts on “O’Neill’s

  1. Mark February 28, 2016 / 4:07 pm

    To the person that wrote this article.

    Does anyone actually read your pointless articles based on nothing but a sad individual that obviously doesn’t have a life and thinks nothing better than thinking they are important enough for others to actually take note?

    Why don’t you spend your time working for charity or doing good?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shit Things March 1, 2016 / 10:38 am

      Hi Mark!

      Lovely to hear from you. Thanks for your interest in what we do here. To answer your first question, Mark, we can’t guarantee they read it, but the website gets some good traffic. We’ve had almost 40,000 unique visitors since launching in back in November, Mark. Reading’s has a population of about 155,000 people, so it wouldn’t be far wide of the mark, Mark, to suggest that 25% (that’s almost a quarter, Mark) of people living in Reading have seen at least one of our pointless articles!

      To answer your second query, Mark, we don’t spend our time working for charity or doing good because, like ISIS or Sir John Madejski, we’re fundamentally evil.

      Yours sincerely,

      Shit & Not Shit Pubs in Reading

      PS Please reply with your postal address and we’ll send you out one of new ‘I Love Shit & Not Shit Pubs in Reading’ t-shirts!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Osama bin laden March 3, 2016 / 3:46 pm

    Are you lot for real?
    You act like oxygen thieves.


    • Shit Things March 4, 2016 / 9:47 am

      Thanks for getting in touch, Ozzy. Good to hear from you. From beyond the grave.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Greg Doyle October 12, 2019 / 10:48 am

    Hi, actually brilliant and amusing articles mate. I’m a cockney/paddy living now in Bournemouth (how fucking mixed up am I?) I tried O’Neill’s bar in Bournemouth the other day and while it was a decent, albeit absolutely freezing pint of Guinness the place had as much Irish atmosphere as a wine bar up West. I asked when they’d put some paddy music on and the very posh sounding English manager looked a bit perplexed and explained that it was a chain of pubs or something. Cheers 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shit Things October 14, 2019 / 12:39 pm

      Congratulations on being the first Irishman to drink in an O’Neill’s!


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