A traditional boozer in Wantage will be forced to close because of a lack of customers, its landlord has said.

The Abingdon Arms in Grove Street will open for a final time next Thursday (November 2) after pub company Admiral Taverns decided it was no longer viable.

Landlord Bill Adams, 76, said it was a “shock” when the company told him the pub would be put up for sale.

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“It’s quite upsetting for most of the customers,” he said. “It’s a unique place and it’s in the middle of everything.

"It’s a bit of a Wantage institution I suppose”

“I just wanted a quiet place. I didn’t want a fortune each week. It was a shock to hear.”

Oxford Mail: The Abingdon Arms. Picture Richard Cave.

Oxford Mail: The Abingdon Arms. Picture Richard Cave.

The traditional English pub is wet-led and does not serve food. Mr Adams claimed such pubs could not survive like they used to.

“It’s just a proper pub," he said. “We have regulars who come in everyday as well as football teams, dart teams, and quiz teams.

“But these types of pubs can’t survive anymore. Not without constant trade. You need people through the door as much as possible.

“That’s been the case for the last couple of years.”

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Mr Adams has run other pubs in the town, including the Bell Inn and the Kings Arms, but had been out of the trade for a couple of years when he took over the Abingdon Arms six months ago.

He said: “It’s a difficult question (why he chose to became landlord of the pub). It was available and they wanted someone and I know the trade so I decided to take it on.

Oxford Mail: The Abingdon Arms. Picture Richard Cave.

“It was ok when I took it over. It needed some work done and a repaint but it had a big garden and a big car park.

“We just don’t have the customers needed to keep it open. I have been here six months. It’s always been bad. I didn’t realise it would go so quickly.

“Everything gets blamed on Covid, but there’s other stuff.

Oxford Mail: The Abingdon Arms. Picture Richard Cave.

“There are so many different pubs in the area. There’s always a number of things that causes a pub to close.

“I will be sad to see it go and I will miss the customers. It’s got a lot of regulars.”

Mr Adams said nothing special was planned for the final day. “It’s not that sort of a place,” he added.

“I’m definitely retiring now. I have enjoyed the last six months, it’s been great. The customers are fantastic. I know most of them. They are friends.

“But it’s just not enough. You need people coming in at different times, in the evenings and at weekends.”

A spokesperson from Admiral Taverns said: “We are strong believers in the importance of community pubs and our focus is always on helping our licensees to run sustainable pub businesses.

"After careful consideration however, we felt in this instance that The Abingdon Arms did not have a long-term sustainable future and therefore we’ve taken the decision to put the pub up for sale."