AS you walk into the main bar area of The Cross Keys, situated in Witney's Market Square, you will be forgiven for being slightly taken aback as your eyes attempt to adjust to the sudden darkness.

At first, only the flashing lights of the slot machines help light your way. Low ceilings and dark beams are partly to blame for this. It's certainly nothing to worry about however. Once safely inside, the eyes adjust nicely, besides if you sit at the rear of the bar, where meals are mainly served, it's much lighter.

I was there to taste the last of the Hobgoblin ale to be brewed to five per cent ABV. By the time this article goes into print, Hobgoblin will be brewed to a more seasonable 4.5 per cent ABV. As Brakspear beer was originally brewed at The Cross Keys, before moving to Henley and the Wychwood Brewery, Witney, are now brewing Brakspear beers alongside their flagship brew Hobgoblin, this pub seemed an appropriate place to bid farewell to the five per cent Hobgoblin.

The legendary Hobgoblin, with its quirky labels and dark rich flavours, was first brewed by Wychwood in 1996. Now it rates as the fifth best selling bottled ale in the UK, and can be found on tap in many Witney pubs.

Although The Cross Keys probably dates back to the 18th century, it was a small hotel for commercial gentlemen until 1939. Now it's a popular pub, in the very heart of town, which attracts shoppers, visitors who need a reasonably priced lunch, and regulars, who know this pub keeps a good beer. Yes, the Hobgoblin was in great condition, a cellarman obviously cleans the pumps regularly.

Because I'd forgotten to bring a book with me, I was forced to sit hugging my beer until my meal arrived. That was my mistake, I should have picked up a newspaper to read, as I had nothing to do but stare out into space and as a consequence be recognised.

I am not sure at what point I was noticed, but when not one but three different members of staff came to my table in quick succession to ask if everything was OK, and another asked if they could get me anything else, I can only assume someone spotted me. This was confirmed, when on leaving it began all over again. But that's OK. My meal had arrived prior to their constant concern for my welfare. Besides, everything was OK. In fact, I had a simply delicious meal, and only paid £4.99 for a very tasty battered fillet of fish, chips and garden peas, pictured, which is half the price I often pay. The fish was thick and flaky, the batter crisp and well cooked. What more could anyone ask at that price?

This pub runs a two meals for £8 on specially marked dishes, which I am told goes down well with pensioners on a limited budget. Other dishes listed on the menu, and which are served all day until 8pm, include: spicy bean burger, which is suitable for vegetarians (£3.89), 10oz gammon steak, topped with fried egg or pineapple (£7.19), all-day brunch, which is served with chips or two slices of toast (£4.49), half roast chicken, that comes with chips, peas, and your own jug of gravy (£5.49), and sausage and mash, at £4.49. On Sundays, The Cross Keys also serves a traditional Sunday roast at £5.69 for one course, £7.19 for two, and £8.69 for a three-course meal, which is very reasonable indeed.

There's a choice of three different sandwiches, priced from £2.49 for cheese and red onion, and five hot baguettes, priced from £3.29.

In the dining area hangs a superb new darts board. Apparently, darts are taken very seriously here, with matches played frequently once meal service is over.

Having been bowed out several times by the friendly and very efficient staff who run this pub, I joined the throng of shoppers once more, and was momentarily blinded by the sunshine.