PEOPLE who fought to save their local pub will get their first chance to look inside the newly refurbished building on Friday.

The Somerset in Marston Road - now rebranded as The Up In Arms - will throw open its doors to welcome back the dozens of campaigners who battled for five years to rescue it from closure.

Oxford Mail:

The special party comes before the pub fully reopens to the public this weekend, offering its pizzas and burgers at half price to mark the occasion.

A grand opening party is planned for next Friday and the Oxford Mail was given an exclusive look around as the final preparations take place.

Oxford Mail:

Leo Johnson, co-founder of the Oxford-based Dodo Pub Co. which has taken on the pub, said nearly £500,000 has been invested in the building to bring it back into business.

He said: "There's always a bit of nervousness when you get ready to open but we're really pleased with what we've achieved and are excited to welcome people in to have a look around."

Oxford Mail:

Since Dodo got the keys earlier this year, the pub has undergone a complete transformation so that it now boasts the distinctive company style, familiar to anyone who has been inside Jericho's Rickety Press or Magdalen Road's Rusty Bicycle.

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The Up In Arms' bar had been moved across to the side near the entrance, a dining area has been created and a new kitchen has been installed, complete with a window so customers can see inside.

Oxford Mail:

At the front The Missing Bean coffee company will sell hot drinks from a hatch directly onto the street from 8am and, in the back garden, seats and heaters have been put in, creating room for around 80 people.

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At the time of visiting, staff were awaiting delivery of a large shipping container which will be put in the back to host events including film screenings and live music performances.

A yard sale, the pub's first event, is already planned for the end of May and Mr Johnson said they are very keen to listen to the community about what else people would like to see in future.

Oxford Mail:

The opening comes as Dodo looks to further expand its portfolio of pubs and Mr Johnson has revealed that the company is already looking at where it may open next.

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It already has 'one or two' options in Oxfordshire as it seeks to open 10-15 pubs across the home counties in the future with rescuing rundown and unloved pubs at the heart of its plans.

Jesse Jones, Dodo's social media and events manager, said they hoped to tempt people out of Oxford city centre to visit The Up In Arms as well as catering for the students, young families and hospital workers who all live close by.

Oxford Mail:

He said: "It is such a big site and there's a lot we can do with it.

"It's our first pub with parking so we're hoping to draw people in from town.

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"But this area is crying out for a pub and we know there is already so much interest from people who live nearby.

"The reason we took it on was because of the campaign to save it.

"It helped show just how successful this could be."