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More choices for nights out in Abingdon
BEER LOVERS are drinking a toast to the future of Abingdon after a week of good pub news.
On Monday night JD Wetherspoon was granted a drinks licence for the former Post Office building in High Street, after the Nag’s Head on Abingdon Bridge re-opened for business on Friday night.
Wetherspoon’s spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are delighted to be granted a licence for the old Post Office – this is a massive step for us.
“We still need to complete on the deal but hopefully this permission will speed up the process.
“We believe the town’s mix of residents means that Wetherspoon’s will provide success for us and the town.
“Hopefully it will be an addition to the social scene and bring investment and jobs.”
The licence allows the pub to sell alcohol until midnight from Sunday to Wednesday, and until 1am from Thursday to Saturday.
The pub will also be able to sell alcohol on New Year’s Eve until 8am.
The Nag’s Head closed in January last year, with general manager Tracey Smith blaming high rent and poor winter trading conditions.
Dushan Salwathura, landlord of The Broad Face in Thames Street, accepted the challenge and agreed to run the pub last year. The venue re-opened its doors to paying customers on Friday and sold 1,500 pints of real ale over the weekend.
The landlord said: “It is going really well and has turned out a lot better than I expected.
“We were absolutely rammed all weekend and people were so happy to see the pub open again.
“In the last three months we did so much hard work – we had dozens of people working 12 to 15 hours each day.”
He said there was still work to be done, including rendering the rear wall which backs onto the River Thames.
Mr Salwathura said: “It will be a constant effort and we will have to keep on top of it.”
Johanne Green, who lives in Abingdon and is a member of CAMRA’s Oxford branch, went for a pub lunch at the Nag’s Head on Saturday.
She said: “I think it is brilliant that Dushan has taken this on and I admire him for it.
“It is difficult in these times and he has taken on a huge task, but if it is going to be this busy then it is for the good.
“There is a good spread of different people. I think it is going to be good for Abingdon.”
The pub has had its carpets taken up, revealing the wooden floor beneath.
It is serving raw steaks accompanied by a sizzling hot black rock on which customers cook their own dinner to perfection.
It is also serving locally-brewed On The Bridge ale, from the Loose Cannon brewery in Abingdon.