A FORMER pub in west Oxford – now with a new blue hue – is set to reopen this month following a major revamp.

The Holly Bush on Bridge Street, Osney Island, is still being refurbished but is expected to reopen on October 24.

The beloved boozer has been shut since 2013 and is to be relaunched by a chain that already operates in the city after the council gave the go-ahead earlier this year.

It will be Wells & Co’s (formerly Charles Wells Ltd’s) second pub in Oxford, after the Oxford Blue opened in Marston Street, East Oxford.

The Bedford-based company said its Pizza, Pots & Pints brand was being lapped up by visitors to its first Oxford site and the winning formula would be repeated on Osney Island.

The pub will be able to stay open from 11am-11pm from Mondays to Saturdays and 11am-10.30pm on Sunday.

Oxford Mail:

Labour city councillor for Jericho and Osney Susanna Pressel said: “Most Osney residents are delighted that the Holly Bush will be opening soon – and as a real family pub.

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“It is designed to be similar to the Oxford Blue on Marston Street, off Iffley Road. The building is being renovated and substantially extended. It may open as soon as next month. The managers are bending over backwards to say all the right things and being as helpful as possible, as good neighbours should be.”

She added: “The city council has put various conditions on the licence, which we hope will make sure that the pub is not too noisy at night, so that it fits in with this quiet residential area.”

Oxford Mail:

In a statement given earlier to the city council, Wells & Co stated: “We are a family-owned business which has been brewing and operating pubs since 1876. Pubs and beer are therefore our passion. This site will be operated in the same style as our other Pizza, Pots & Pints sites, which are in similar heavily residential areas.

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“Community relationships and charitable support is a core pillar of our operating style, and the pub will welcome families and all sections of the community.”

The statement added: “Our venues have a central food offering which accounts for between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the weekly taking, seeing artisan pizzas and comfort food created in house.”

The Holly Bush was previously owned by brewery giant Greene King and at one point was known as the Walter Mitty.

Oxford Mail:

It was once used as a performance space by Oxford rock band Radiohead to hone their craft.

The pub was used as a shisha lounge until July 2015, when the council rejected a retrospective planning application that would have allowed it to continue.

Plans to convert the building into housing were rejected by the city council in 2017. In May the council’s licensing committee was told 40 residents were concerned the pub could disrupt the island’s atmosphere.