WITH two new bars set to open in Abingdon in the coming weeks we have been looking at the recent retail and restaurant changes in the town centre.

High Street will soon gain both The Mercer and Old Chemist Shop, the first selling locally brewed beers, and wines, the latter a gin joint and smokehouse.

Oxford Mail:

Joel Collins, who will The Mercer with business partner James Salter, has said it is expected to be open within weeks, the new gin bar to follow on Good Friday.

More details about what the new bars will be like

Abingdon Dry Cleaners also opened in East St Helen Street last month in one half of what was previously Patisserie Pascal, the other half is home to Galaxy Techno which moved into the space last year.

Tansi, meanwhile, launched in Bath Street in late 2018, as a Bulgarian cafe that transitions into a restaurant in the evenings.

It would be hard to note changes to shops and restaurants in the town centre without also mentioning the reopening of the Abbey Hall as a cinema.

Oxford Mail:

Sue and Ian Wiper, who are also running the historic Guildhall next door, launched the new cinema in December. As well as showing the latest releases it also serves food.

New cinema opens with Mary Poppins sequel screening

Older additions to the town centre include Abingdon Fish and Chips which opened April 2018 in the Square, and Pablo Lounge in Market Place, which replaced Wildwood kitchen in March last year.

There was more change in Market Place this summer when sandwich lovers mourned the loss of popular independent shop La Baguette due to the ill health of owner Margaret Salman.

Oxford Mail:

The shop shut after more than two decades in August but the business was reopened by Michael Llamas in Bath Street.

He said: “I’ve employed the same staff, it’s the same menu and same recipes, the only thing that’s changed is the location.”

Outpouring from community as sandwich lovers 'devastated' by shop closure

The Nursery Shop, meanwhile, moved into La Baguette’s old spot in town square. The Abingdon Bistro in Bath Street, meanwhile, reopened in December with new owners and Salami’s Fish Bar closed in January for refurbishment.

There was also the loss of a business last month that had been in the town centre for almost half a century. Gemini Hair stylists shut after 46 years in Stert Street.

Rosie’s Tea Room also closed in December after almost a decade in West St Helen Street.