New management will be invited to take over the historic Grapes pub in Oxford after the company running it went into administration.

Drinkers were stunned when staff at The West Berkshire Brewery pub in George Street placed a note on the door to say it would not be reopening.

The note at Christmas told drinkers: “It is with great sadness that I inform you The Grapes is closed. We will not be reopening.”

The West Berkshire Brewery, near Newbury, which took over the pub lease in 2019, is now in administration, according to Companies House.

Read again: Oxford pub The Grapes shuts forever

Oxford City Council, which owns the building and controls the lease, said it would like to see a new tenant take the opportunity to run the pub.

Ed Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Asset Management, said: "We believe that a pub in this location is an asset to the street and it would be good to see a new tenant come in on the same model if possible.

"We are all too aware that it has been a very tough time for the licensed trade in the last couple of years, and have tried to be as supportive as possible.”

He added: "The property is on a lease from the council. The tenant is in administration. We do not know the intentions of the administrator but as they have ceased trading from the property it is likely they will not want to retain the lease."

The Grapes, which dates back to the 1800s, is popular with theatre goers and real ale drinkers.

Bath Ales were in charge in 2012 and the pub then became Beerd Oxford in 2015 before it was named The Grapes again in 2017.

When WBB took over in 2019 the interior was given a £70,000 revamp with new wooden booths created and mosaic tiling around the bar.

Dave Richardson, a spokesman for the Oxford branch of real ale group Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said he hoped the city council would offer reasonable terms and conditions to the next tenant.

Read again: The history of The Grapes: a timeline

He added: “I hope the city council can be flexible when it comes to the rent. The number of times the pub has changed hands in recent years indicates it is not a big money spinner.

“I’m sure the council would like to see the pub reopen and I’m hopeful that a new tenant will be found before the end of the year.

“The council certainly doesn’t want an empty property and despite the difficult time pubs are experiencing due to the pandemic I would expect there to be interest.”

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Mr Richardson added: “The pub did serve some food but it’s a small building so there isn’t room for a large kitchen.

“I wouldn’t want to see it replaced by a coffee shop or a restaurant - there are plenty of those. This is a good time to stand up and protect the traditional British pub.”

The Lamb & Flag in St Giles, owned by St John’s College, closed in January last year due to the pandemic. It will be reopened next month by a Community Interest Company.