Drummer's Bar, Witney’s first and only micro-pub shut, has shut suddenly.

The closure of the bar and music venue in Langdale Court came as a surprise to regulars.

But the business’s owner, Simon Scamp was keen to retire and move on from the day-to-day running of the pub to pursue other interests, according to the Oxford Drinker, the magazine for CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).

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Dave Richardson of Oxford CAMRA said the closure on July 23 was hastened by a decision by West Oxfordshire District Council to enforce its denial of retrospective planning permission for a conservatory added to the front of the building during Covid restrictions, which allowed Drummer’s to effectively double capacity.

If a new owner takes over it is likely that the conservatory would have to be removed.

Drummer’s had two hand pumps and a larger range of craft keg beers, mainly from local suppliers, as were other drinks including gin and whisky.

Oxford Mail: Beer served at Drummer's Bar

It built up a loyal following and became first stop in Witney for many beer aficionados, and is in the Good Beer Guide.

Other GBG listed pubs in Witney for 2023 are the Angel Inn and Eagle Tavern.

Live music was often played at Drummer's at the weekends, and customers were sometimes invited to bring in their own food to share.

“In many ways I enjoyed running the bar, but not enough money was coming in,” said Mr Scamp.

Oxford Mail: Live music at Drummer's Bar

“In principle the council didn’t object to the extension, but the conservation people wanted it to be smaller.

"We extended it because of Covid as we needed more space to make it viable but now electricity has gone up threefold and I can’t see an end to it.

"I’m still trying to sort something out so it can reopen.”

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The bar opened in 2018 as Oxbrew, taking the same name as the brewery started in Enstone in 2016 by Simon and his stepson, Aaron Baldwin.

Oxbrew merged its operations with Little Ox in Freeland in 2019 as Little Ox Brew Co, with Simon and Aaron going their different ways and Simon renaming the bar Drummer’s, being a drummer himself.

He is a signwriter, designing the beer glasses for the Oxford Beer and Cider Festival last year.

Drummer’s first appeared in the Good Beer Guide in 2020 – “to my mind, the best thumbs-up a bar can get”, said Mr Scamp. 

There have been a number of pub closures across Oxfordshire in recent months due to the cost of living crisis.

These include The Extraordinary Hare in West Hendred where the manager said she was struggling to pay the utility bills.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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