DRINKERS gave a former pub in West Oxford a warm welcome last night after it reopened following a six-year break.

The Holly Bush in Bridge Street, Osney Island, has undergone extensive refurbishment and opened at 5pm.

The 167-year-old pub - now with a striking dark blue exterior - has been shut since 2013 and has been relaunched by Bedfordshire-based Wells & Co.

Oxford Mail:

It already operates The Oxford Blue in Marston Street, East Oxford.

Managers say they want the pub to be at the heart of the Osney Island community, and it will follow the Pizza, Pots & Pints look of other pubs in the chain.

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Alongside a range of beers, the menu will feature freshly made artisan pizzas and bubbling pots of comfort food.

Benjamin Smith, operations director for Wells & Co, said: “We’re thrilled to reopen the Holly Bush and bring the residents of Osney Island a new homely pub to enjoy throughout the week.

“This local gem has been closed for a number of years now, leaving residents with one less community hangout.

“The pub’s welcoming new look paired with its enticing food offering make this pub the ideal spot for a catch up with friends or for a quality meal with family, and we look forward to welcoming old and new faces alike.”

The pub’s weekly quiz will take place at 7.30pm every Tuesday and roast dinners will be served from noon every Sunday.

Oxford Mail:

Drinkers can start the week off with two-for-one pizzas on Mondays, then midweek they are invited to fill up with chicken wings on Wingman Wednesdays, with vegan cauliflower wings available for those looking for a meat-free alternative.

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At weekends the pub will play host to Roast & Records and music lovers can take an LP for a spin while tucking into one of the pub’s roasts, served from 12pm on Sunday.

The pub company said dogs are welcome.

Jericho and Osney city councillor Susanna Pressel said: “Many residents on Osney Island and in the wider Botley Road area are absolutely delighted that the Hollybush is re-opening at last.

Oxford Mail:

“It was bought about five years ago by property developers. They wanted to get permission to demolish it and put luxury housing on the site.

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“Some of us worked hard to gather enough evidence to show the council that there was still a need for a well-run pub in the area. Fortunately the council decided to refuse to allow the pub to be pulled down.

Now it is to reopen as a real family pub, with a new manager who seems determined to be a good neighbour. The brewery have even donated some of the fittings from the old pub to the allotments shop just opposite, which is very kind.”

Oxford Mail:

Drinkers on Osney Island will now be able to enjoy a beer at both The Holly Bush and The Punter, a short distance away.

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The pub is being staffed by a team of 20 people, headed by general manager Nicholas West.

He said: “He said: “The response from the locals has been fantastic - the pub was packed and we are looking forward to serving them on a regular basis."