Part & Parcel is in the town’s former post office
Dodo Pub Co – which already operates three pubs in Oxford and one each in Cheltenham and Reading – opened its new Witney pub, the Part & Parcel, on September 3. Located in the town’s former main post office in Market Square, the new pub (most recently Bill’s restaurant) has three hand pumps with Arkell’s Hoperation IPA expected to be on this week. The second will be for another local brewery and the third may offer a real cider, and it also has 12 keg lines.
Like the Up in Arms (formerly the Somerset) in Oxford’s Marston Road, the Part & Parcel is free of tie although its cellar is managed by Swindon brewery Arkell’s which also produces branded keg beers for Dodo. Its two original city pubs, the Rusty Bicycle (formerly Eagle Tavern) in East Oxford and the Rickety Press (formerly Radcliffe Arms) in Jericho, are tied to Arkell’s and only serve its own beers.
Dodo is a young, go-ahead pub company with a reputation for informality and innovation, but also a keen business sense. It took over the Marston Road pub after a long period of closure when the local community worked hard to save it, renaming it the Up in Arms in recognition of their efforts. The two upper floors of the Witney pub will operate as a working space for individuals and freelances, this being branded as Dodo Works – a concept it pioneered in Cheltenham. The menu at Dodo pubs is dominated by very tasty pizzas and burgers, and in Witney a new coffee brand, Caffeine & Cake, will be introduced in October to eat in or take away. People signing up for the pub’s newsletter are offered 25% off food between September 5-9.
Dodo Pubs’ first venture was in 2009 when it took over the East Oxford pub which became the Rusty Bicycle, with all of its pubs having been renamed in a clean break from the past. The new pub in Witney is different as it was previously a post office rather than a pub, and one of many around the country to have been converted from this role, including Wetherspoon’s The Narrows in Abingdon and Penny Black in Bicester; and independent pub the Old Post Office in Wallingford.
The Part & Parcel is in fact the third new pub to open in Witney in recent years, following on from Wetherspoon’s Company of Weavers and micro-pub (since expanded) Drummer’s Bar, formerly Oxbrew. Despite a couple of closures over the last decade and some former pubs that now operate as restaurants, it could be argued that the capacity of Witney’s pubs has actually increased, along with the growth of the town, at a time when many other places of similar size have seen a reduction.