Gardeners Arms to re-open next week

Work underway at Eagle and Child while White Horse, Stonesfield back on track

Three closed pubs in and around Oxford are on the way back, starting with the Gardeners Arms in North Parade Avenue, North Oxford, which is due to re-open on Wednesday October 4. Not to be confused with a pub of the same name in nearby Plantation Road, the Gardeners Arms in North Parade Avenue has been closed in November last year when long serving landlords David and Jenny Rhymes retired.

A major refurbishment is now being completed, and although the pub is a former Morrells house owned by Greene King, it is promising a line-up of independent beers in what will be a wet-led pub with only bar snacks rather than full meals.

Work on the Gardeners Arms was well under way when this image was taken two weeks ago

A spokesman for the pub said: “The Gardeners Arms will have six cask hand pumps pouring an ever-changing range of independent beer. We’ll also have 10 keg lines and a well-stocked fridge with some Belgian classics and more modern offerings. We will be offering all of our cask ales for only £3.50 all day, every Monday, and will be introducing a stamp card with every 10th pint on us.

“The pub has newly installed wood panelling throughout, a brand new bar front and back bar fitting as well as new furniture and flooring. The food offering at the pub will be in the form of bar snacks; pies, sausage rolls etc.”

The Gardeners, which previously sold up to three cask ales from Greene King or its guest list, is now being run by the Morgan Pub Company, which re-opened the Grapes in George Street, Oxford in August. Well-known in the London area for real ales, a traditional pub atmosphere and some quirky features, these are the small group’s first pubs in Oxford.

Will the Eagle and Child awaken from its long slumber, having closed in March 2020?

Less than a mile away on St Giles, the Eagle and Child could be on the way to re-opening after two and a half years of closure. It is understood that refurbishment work is under way to restore the pub with student accommodation above, but owner St John’s College has abandoned plans to create boutique hotel rooms. Contractors are at work on behalf of the college and it is understood that some serious offers from pub operators are on the table.

Meanwhile, another Community-Owned pub for Oxfordshire is on the way after villagers in Stonesfield, between Woodstock and Charlbury, finally persuaded the owner of the long closed White Horse to sell. They had previously raised the asking price, but the owner then declined to sell it.

Writing on Facebook, Steve Callaghan, Chair of the committee of Stonesfield Community Pub Ltd, said: “Thanks to your investment, patience and steadfast support, The White Horse is now in community ownership. We’re sure you’ll agree this is fantastic news. So, what happens next? Firstly, there is some fundamental repair and upgrading work required for the building and grounds, and beyond this we’ll be finalising and sharing with you our options for maximising the potential of the pub.

Villagers battled long and hard to save the White Horse, Stonesfield for the community

“How ambitious these options are will depend on a number of factors, not least the availability of further funding. We’ll also welcome your donations of time, experience, practical and professional skills to help us in the many aspects of refurbishment that will be needed. More details of this next phase of development will be circulated when ready, including an outline of the ways in which you can be involved.

“Once again, a huge thank you for your local, national and international help in making this long-awaited milestone possible. There are also many individuals without whose assistance the negotiation of this sale would not have been possible, and we extend our grateful thanks to every one of them. This is the first step in realising the tremendous community potential for The White Horse, and we welcome your continuing support in meeting the many challenges ahead.”