New tenants are being sought for a country pub ‘at the heart of the community’ which has been impacted by the cost of living crisis.

The Red Lion in Yarnton closes on August 12 after custom dropped by half.

Manager Kerry Osborne said it was certainly one factor in her decision to move on.

She said: "It’s partly the cost of living crisis. Our costs have gone up and revenue is down and the customers are struggling as well.

"We came out of Covid with trade 30 per cent down and it’s now 50 per cent down.

"People are coming in less and drinking less. Some people used to come in every Sunday and drink four or five pints. Now they come in once or twice a week for one or two.

"Most nights we may as well close at 8 because by then it’s dwindling, everyone goes home. Covid changed people’s habits considerably, and then with the cost of living crisis, no one’s coming out anymore."

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Ms Osborne said she also disagreed with the new direction the pub, which is due to undergo a significant refurbishment, is going in.

"They are changing the dynamic of the pub and that means increasing the rent and I don’t think it is sustainable," she said.

Ms Osborne will now become bar manager at the Windrush Club in Witney.

She said: “The community have been absolutely brilliant. They have taken us under their wing. We have made the pub the heart of the community."

During Covid the pub ran a food bank and a weekly information podcast with music and quizzes to keep villagers' spirits up.

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Immediately after Covid Monday lunchtimes were reserved for the elderly and vulnerable, offering an environment to socialise for those who had been shielding.

As a result the Red Lion was made a finalist in the community services category at the Great British Pub Awards.

Admiral Taverns said on its website: "The planned refurbishment will bring the Red Lion up to date with a modern fresh feel whilst remain traditional and at the heart of the local community.

"The new layout will be flexible to accommodate regular weekly quiz nights, pub games, and regular entertainment. The pub will trade as wet-led and be a community space for all to enjoy.

"The draught drinks range will be extensive and will offer a choice of both national and local real ales along with an extensive range of wines, spirits and minerals, and bottled products."



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