One of Witney’s most popular pubs is back and the new owners say business is buzzing.

The Hollybush on Corn Street reopened with a launch party at the end of April.

And new co-owners Richard Turner and Dan Woolaston say they are taking the 18th century inn back to its roots as a local where regulars can enjoy a relaxed drink.

Mr Woolaston said: “I was the general manager and I’ve been in the kitchen and front of house so this pub has always been home for me.”

He was also involved in the sister pub, the Horseshoes over the road.

“We wanted to go for the Hollybush but we didn’t get that and then Greene King approached us because we know the place better than anybody," he said.

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Both the Hollybush and Horseshoes were hugely successful businesses under Alex Vaughn and Luke Champion with The Horseshoes named Oxfordshire pub of the year in the National Pub & Bar Awards in 2022.

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The Horseshoes has recently reopened under the new ownership of a team of local residents.

Dan said: “We want to build on that in terms of reputation but we want to take it back to being a real community pub for locals before a restaurant.”

Dan, who is originally from Wakefield in West Yorkshire, has worked in hospitality around Witney all his working life, starting as a chef at The Fleece on Church Green aged 15.

Richard is former owner of the Corncroft Guest House in Corn Street, and now runs The Maybush at Newbridge.

“The response from local people has been really really good as lots and lots of people know us," said Mr Woolaston.

The pub will be offering ‘good, homecooked’ food prepared by husband and wife team Chris and Cassia Matthews with mix-and-match deli boards alongside classics like fish and chips, burgers, steaks and daily specials.

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And Mr Woolaston said contrary to the national picture of pub closures amid soaring energy costs, nightlife is doing well in Witney and getting better.

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He said: “There are so many new houses in Witney, it’s absolutely just taking off. But you have to remember these people are mortgaged up to the hilt.

“The Hollybush had priced itself out of the market. When you start winning awards the spotlight is on you and you have to be really good and it got too expensive.

“People want value for money and that’s why we’ll be having half-price wine evenings and lunch specials and offers.

“We want to be a pub that does food, not a restaurant that does drinks."