Drinkers celebrated the reopening of the Lamb & Flag pub tonight after waiting of almost two years.

The pub in St Giles, one of the city’s oldest, closed in January last year due to adverse trading conditions in the pandemic.

But community interest group the Inklings stepped in to take over the running of the St John’s College-owned pub.

Oxford Mail:

Read again: Lamb & Flag reopens

Dylan Dudbridge-Hay and his wife Alice are managing the historic pub on behalf of the Inklings.

They opened the doors shortly before 6pm and soon the bars were filling up.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Dudridge-Hay said: "We are absolutely delighted the pub has reopened.

"I have spent my career in hospitality, starting at St Aldate's Tavern, and then I moved to Bristol, and joined XT Brewery before working at the Rickety Press and The Up In Arms in Marston.

Oxford Mail:

"Everyone has a story about the Lamb & Flag, it's so ingrained in the Oxford community so this is a little daunting."

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Mr Dudbridge-Hay said local breweries have been invited to supply ales.

He added: "We want the pub to be enjoyed by people who enjoyed it before and new people - students, visitors and local residents."

Oxford Mail:

About 5.50pm, Leon Fields, 47, an economist, was the first drinker to be served.

After choosing an XT Brewery pale ale, Animal Hop Kitty, he said: "I'm glad it's back - it's a good community resource."

Nicholas Rees, from Kidlington, who works in the university chemistry department, said he was extremely disappointed when the pub shut.

He added: "I think the college could have done more to keep it open - I hope this community group works."

Howard Anglin, a law student from Canada, added: "I am thrilled the pub is back.

"The community group is taking such care and attention with it."

For the next few weeks, the pub will be open from 5pm until 11pm daily, as work on the interior is still being completed.

"It's not quite finished but we wanted to open," said Mr Dudbridge-Hay.

Oxford Mail:

Members of the Inklings group who have supported the venture were there to see it reopen, including Ceri Morgan and Philip Tomei.

Ms Morgan said: "I first came here in 2000 - it's magical - the perfect location for a real hub."

The pub was due to reopen earlier this year, but the resignation of Steve Jones, who had been appointed landlord, led to delays, and restoration work caused further delays.

The Lamb & Flag is one of Oxford's oldest pubs and there was shock around the globe when it closed.

The Oxford branch of the real ale group CAMRA has backed the Inklings group's takeover.

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF