The Hollybush in Witney has been named Best Pub and Bar in Oxfordshire in the National Pub and Bar Awards. 

The prestigious awards showcase the best venues in each county with 15 regional winners being named at a grand final event in London in September.

The Hollybush is a contemporary gastropub set in an historic 18th century building on Corn Street.

Co-owner Luke Champion said: “We are thrilled to win this award giving us recognition as the top pub and bar in Oxfordshire.

“We have always aimed to fill our pub with happy people enjoying delicious food and good drinks and this Award shows that we’re doing something right.”

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Mr Champion and co-owner Alex Vaughan are local lads with a passion for hospitality who cut their teeth working in pubs and bars in London and Brighton.

They came home to Witney to open their own pub in 2015. 

They also own The Horseshoes on the same road.

Mr Vaughn added: “The last 18 months has been the hardest trading period since we opened the pub in 2015 and this Award is a great pat on the back to the whole team.

“We are grateful for the support from old and new customers since we reopened in April and looking forward to operating without restrictions from Monday.”

Last summer, the pair opened four unique dining houses in the garden, providing sheltered dining for small groups.

Although these were planned before the pandemic, they turned out to be a timely addition enabling diners to enjoy an indoor restaurant experience in their own bubble while sheltering from the British weather. 

New head chef, Simon Bradley, was hired in December and he has developed inventive menus that feature seasonal local produce. 

When reviewed last month by the Oxford Mail’s Digital Audience and Content Editor Samantha King she wrote that the "eatery's steak left us close to tears".

She added: "The phrase ‘heaven on earth’ is criminally overused, but it is the only possible descriptor for my experience at The Hollybush in Witney."

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The National Pub & Bar Awards, now in their sixth year, are organised in conjunction with Pub & Bar magazine.

Tristan O’Hana, editor of Pub & Bar magazine, said: “These pubs represent all that is great about the modern on-trade. You can only imagine the fantastic variety of operations we have discovered through the judging process – it’s been an absolute pleasure to investigate just how all of these incredible operators run their businesses.

“What’s great about the awards is that all the attendees of the grand final are already winners – they’re the best in their county.”