The manager of a popular city centre restaurant has said it is “surreal” it will close after more than 50 years.

The Nosebag, on St Michael’s Street, first opened in 1971 and has been a staple of Oxford for half a century.

It will close its doors for the final time today (April 27).

READ MORE: Oxford restaurant The Nosebag to close down

Oxford Mail: People queued up to enjoy a meal before the restaurant closedPeople queued up to enjoy a meal before the restaurant closed

Manager Mandy Craigan, who has worked at The Nosebag for 32 years, told the Oxford Mail the closure is “a bit surreal”.

“It’s been mad since we announced it. Everyone has been coming in to see us and tell lovely stories,” she added.

By lunchtime the restaurant was filled with customers visiting The Nosebag for one final meal, with a majority of the tables filled upstairs and a continuous queue of people ordering.

Third year university student Polly Walton pointed out she is the fourth generation of her family to eat at the restaurant.

She said: “My great grandmother lived in Oxford and my dad’s earliest memories are coming to The Nosebag.”

Oxford Mail: The Nosebag will closed today after 50 years The Nosebag will closed today after 50 years

School friends Cathy Lewis and Jill Cornish met up at the restaurant for a catch up and to visit before it shut down.

Ms Lewis described The Nosebag as “very comfortable” and a “special place.”

She said it is “hard to put into words” as “there is nothing like it in Oxford”.

At one point, she and her husband would visit at least once a week – if not more – as he reviewed shows at the theatre.

She added that when she moved to the city she “loved it a whole lot more when I discovered The Nosebag”.

Oxford Mail: A majority of the tables were full by lunchtimeA majority of the tables were full by lunchtime

Ms Cornish felt the restaurant “gives the city centre character”.

Another customer who has been coming to the restaurant for decades is Karey Taylor.

Visiting with her partner Andrew, she said she has becoming “coming here since I was a student in the 1980s” and called it an “institution”.

“It is just fantastic food in an informal atmosphere. I cannot see what is going to replace it,” she added.

READ MORE: Oxford Co-op announces closure

When the closure was announced Camilla Chia, whose family owns The Nosebag, explained it was primarily due to the pandemic and said it was “a miracle” the restaurant made it as long as it did after the pandemic.

However, the staff crisis in the hospitality sector and foot traffic moving away from that part of the centre and towards the Westgate Centre, due to the closures of Debenhams and Boswells, also had an impact on business.

She said: “A lot of our clientele were typical Boswells or Debenhams customers and the older generation, whose health was effected by Covid.”


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