• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Campaigner calls for The Grapes pub in Oxford to be reopened

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 20, 2022

A real ale campaigner is urging Oxford City Council to save one of the city’s oldest pubs.

The Grapes in George Street shut suddenly at the end of last year and has not reopened.

Although it has remained closed, the outside of the building does not look too shabby and it appears that someone has been looking after the foliage outside.

Read again: Grapes pub has 70k revamp

The pub, which dates back to the 1800s, closed in December after the West Berkshire Brewery running it went into administration, and a note was placed on the door saying it would not be reopening.

Oxford Mail: Photo: Andy FfrenchPhoto: Andy Ffrench

Now Dave Richardson, of the Oxford branch of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), is calling on city council, which owns the property, to make the pub an attractive proposition for prospective landlords.

He said: “It’s a shame to see this fine old traditional pub going to waste, especially on such a vibrant thoroughfare as George Street.

“We know the pub is too small to turn a big profit, so we look to the city council to show some flexibility on the lease being offered and to show understanding that this is a very challenging time to take on a pub whatever financial support businesses might get because of the energy crisis.

“The Grapes is the last traditional pub on George Street as the others are large modern bars or restaurants.

Oxford Mail: Photo: Andy FfrenchPhoto: Andy Ffrench

"It would be a great shame to see it disappear for good as it’s held dear by locals, students and visitors – and by patrons of the New Theatre who know that if you slip out quickly at the interval, you could be served more quickly in The Grapes than at the theatre’s own bar.”

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Earlier this year council, which owns the building and controls the lease, said it would like to see a new tenant take up the opportunity to run the pub.

The council said in March: “The council is in contact with the administrator and with the previous tenant.

Oxford Mail: Photo: Oxford MailPhoto: Oxford Mail

“Their intention is to market the lease to find a new tenant.”

It has been approached for any update.

Bath Ales were in charge in 2012 and the pub then became Beerd Oxford in 2015 before it was named The Grapes again in 2017.

When WBB took over in 2019 the interior was given a £70,000 revamp with comfortable new wooden booths created and mosaic tiling around the bar.

Read more: Pub site could be turned into homes

Oxford Mail: Photo: Oxford Mail Photo: Oxford Mail

The Grapes was the Berkshire microbrewery’s first solo-run pub and it brought its own beers, together with those supplied by Abingdon’s Loose Cannon and Cholsey’s Amwell Springs Brewery Company.

Money was also spent renovating the cellar and the brewery bosses said they wanted the pub to be more inviting and comfortable.

Now the windows of the pub remain dark and it is thought that some of the furniture has been removed.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF