OXFORD is a city blessed with an assortment of pubs rich in history, therefore choosing a favourite is an almost impossible task.

When it comes to making a decision though, a couple of the more modern places in the city certainly enter the conversation.

Since founding in 2016, Tap Social Movement has opened its original Taproom in Botley, while taking over The White House in Abingdon Road last May.

Tap Social also has a bar at Banbury’s canalside Lock29, part of the Castle Quay Shopping Centre.

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After witnessing the difficulties people faced when leaving prison, Tap Social’s founders sought to create something which could better support ex-offenders.

At the time, not everyone was supportive of the venture, and if comments on this newspaper’s website were to be believed, Tap Social was going to be ‘bust inside a month’.

However, the opposite happened, and Tap Social continues to go from strength to strength.

Tess Taylor, co-founder of Tap Social, told the Oxford Mail: “Those comments obviously weren’t very nice, but we had plenty of supportive comments too.

“We’ve come a long way since then and have various sites – we’re now brewing out of a new site in Kidlington.

“We’re also hoping for the opening in the Covered Market to finally come back to life.

“We’ve had a few challenges on that front but we’ll be resubmitting a licence application and looking at late September to open.”

Oxford Mail: The outside area at The White House. Picture: Tap SocialThe outside area at The White House. Picture: Tap Social

Tap Social’s plans to open a bar in the Covered Market hit a brick wall in January when they were rejected due to a ‘technical defect’, which resulted in some market businesses not having time to respond to the application.

In addition to its venues, Tap Social offers one-on-one support in getting permanent employment, including help with CVs, interviews and career planning to anyone who trains and works there.

Miss Taylor, 31, added: “We set up with that social enterprise intention and being more empowering for people in prison.

“All of us worked in criminal justice, and we saw the lack of support for people coming from prison.

“It’s about creating the empowerment, and I hope people see that when they come to our venues.

“We get such an awesome diverse group of people who come, and in Oxford, there’s not a tonne of independents, which marks us out for people.

“Some places might be more for students or tourists, but we’re aiming to cover that middle ground.”

One of the biggest challenges to face the hospitality industry has been the coronavirus pandemic, something Miss Taylor acknowledged.

“Covid really forced us to some build some resilience,” she said.

“It was an uncertain couple of years, and forced us to change the goalposts, but ultimately it made us stronger as a business.”

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Liam.rice@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailLiamRice