Publicans in call for more late nightspots as revellers desert town for Oxford

Como Lounge operations manager Kieron Butcher and general manager Dominique Webb

Como Lounge operations manager Kieron Butcher and general manager Dominique Webb Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

WITNEY needs more late nightspots, pub landlords said, after its only nightclub was replaced by a cafe bar.

They said revellers are going to Oxford after the closure of Market Square’s iZi’s, which could shut as late as 3am, last September.

Its replacement, Como Lounge, opened on Wednesday after a £500,000 refurbishment.

Mark Wates, owner of Nortons cafe bar in Langdale Gate, said: “We definitely need a late licence venue in Witney because people want choice.

“Young people are all going into Oxford for nights out so you have to give them what they want.

“We need it to be like how it was before, iZi’s was a nightclub but this is more of a food-orientated establishment.”

Another Market Square nightclub, Palace, closed in 2010 and was replaced by Wetherspoons’ The Company of Weavers pub.

Shaun Hartless, who ran iZi’s, said his nightclub struggled after the pub, which can sell alcohol to 1am from Thursday to Saturday, opened its doors.

Nortons can sell alcohol to 3.30am Thursday to Sunday and Corn Street live music and comedy venue Fat Lil’s to 2am the same days.

Witney & District Chamber of Commerce chairwoman Lesley Semaine, landlady of the Royal Oak pub in High Street, said: “It’s always nice to see smart places in a town but the only downside to that is the youngsters go to Oxford now because late venues have closed down. The adult population were pleased it wouldn’t be a nightclub but it’s a shame there’s nothing to replace it.”

Damo’s Taxis owner Damian McClure said: “At one point there were too many nightclubs but now it’s going the other way because there’s too many eateries.”

Como Lounge has a rooftop terrace and operations manager Kieron Butcher said: “It’s a pretty informal setting and we’re doing everything from a cup of coffee to a three-course meal.

“Kids, families and dogs are welcome and we will have evening quiz nights.

“We have background music rather than loud music. It’s not a nightclub but it’s different to anything else in Witney.”

 

Comments (5)

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5:41pm Sat 9 Aug 14

WitneyGreen says...

Witney is not a city. Several pubs on Corn Street open until midnight. Wetherspoons opens until 1am, and Nortons and Fat Lil's are even later than that. What more choice do people want?!
Witney is not a city. Several pubs on Corn Street open until midnight. Wetherspoons opens until 1am, and Nortons and Fat Lil's are even later than that. What more choice do people want?! WitneyGreen
  • Score: 11

6:43pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Myron Blatz says...

Basically we are talking about money and revenue income for the publicans, landlords and breweries, and the ever-increasing demand to reach income targets. We are also talkimg about booze-and-food outlets in open competition with each other at all hours of the day and night, for revenue gain.
Basically we are talking about money and revenue income for the publicans, landlords and breweries, and the ever-increasing demand to reach income targets. We are also talkimg about booze-and-food outlets in open competition with each other at all hours of the day and night, for revenue gain. Myron Blatz
  • Score: -1

11:31am Sun 10 Aug 14

King Joke says...

If they are that concerned, why don't they apply for late licences and provide DJ booths themselves?

Is it possibly because they want to pick up on the early evening trade 2100-2300 but not have to deal with the funnelling of punters into an ever-decreasing number of outlets as the evening goes on?
If they are that concerned, why don't they apply for late licences and provide DJ booths themselves? Is it possibly because they want to pick up on the early evening trade 2100-2300 but not have to deal with the funnelling of punters into an ever-decreasing number of outlets as the evening goes on? King Joke
  • Score: 2

2:23pm Sun 10 Aug 14

piper2011 says...

aren't the rest of the towns population allowed any peace and quiet ? is there any good reason to be drinking at 3 o'clock in the morning ?
aren't the rest of the towns population allowed any peace and quiet ? is there any good reason to be drinking at 3 o'clock in the morning ? piper2011
  • Score: 0

4:19pm Sun 10 Aug 14

King Joke says...

None of your business. For what reason shouldn't they be drinking at 0300? As adults they should be able to socialise at a time of their choosing.

As the article states, the more relaxed regime in Oxford means that they are choosing to spend their money there, so if Witney wants to win back some business it will have to try harder.
None of your business. For what reason shouldn't they be drinking at 0300? As adults they should be able to socialise at a time of their choosing. As the article states, the more relaxed regime in Oxford means that they are choosing to spend their money there, so if Witney wants to win back some business it will have to try harder. King Joke
  • Score: 1

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