New community pub The White House in Bladon has some exciting news having appointed its first tenant and head chef. If everything goes to plan the community pub will be open in early October.

“There is still lots to do but it feels like all of the hard work is about to pay off!

“After a very thorough recruitment process we are very pleased to announce that Johnny Roberts will be our tenant and David Fowler our new head chef,” Clare Edwards, Bladon Community Benefit Society secretary announces.

“The buzz and excitement for The White House is so inspiring and it will be an absolute pleasure to represent this great pub as the tenant”

So how did Johnny get involved? “I remember reading the story of the Bladon Community Pub on social media and being completely inspired by the hard work and dedication from the community to save their local pub,” he says. “I instantly fell in love with the idea and wanted to be a part of this fantastic project.

“The buzz and excitement for The White House is so inspiring and it will be an absolute pleasure to represent this great pub as the tenant alongside my Head Chef David Fowler.”

So what does he have in store for his local community, visitors and tourists alike who will no doubt flock over when it finally opened its doors in October?

Bladon community getting the pub garden ready for the opening in October


“We aim to create ‘more than just a pub’ at The White House, bringing the pub and the community closer together,” he says.

“In my opinion the pub is a very important aspect of village life, it should serve the community and be a focal point for everyone to enjoy.

“Creating the perfect balance is an exciting opportunity for me and my team. We aim to combine café style food in the morning and afternoons with a combination of wholesome pub classics and finer dining in the evenings.

“And let’s not forget about the Sunday roasts that will be a prominent feature of our menu.

“It’s important for me to keep things local, from the guest ales and craft beers, to the food on the menu, we pledge to keep things as local as possible wherever possible. So, if you like locally sourced meat and beers from your favourite brewers here in Oxfordshire, I look forward to welcoming you at The White House, hopefully very soon!”

Johnny and his family

And what of Johnny’s history. Why was he chosen for such a challenging and exciting job? “The last few years I have homed in on Real Ale and really bonded with the brewing community and CAMRA (campaign for real ale) here in Oxford. I’ve also developed a burning passion for supporting local breweries and my hard work and passion has been on display at The Four Candles, George Street,” he says

As for the locals, they are delighted with the new appointment. Local resident and helper Calum Greer adds: “This is yet another significant milestone in a journey that has energised the community.

“I’m convinced that the White House will become the finest community pub/hub in the land offering a warm welcome to all from near and far. And I can almost taste that first pint!

“So welcome to Bladon Johnny and family. Tremendous to see a local lad appointed as tenant. 

“There is a still a lot to do to prepare The White House for opening but we cannot wait to open the doors and make it a central part of Bladon life for all of the community.”

So what’s left to do before the opening? “We’re hoping he can open the beginning of October so it’s ‘all hands on deck’ to try and meet that deadline,” Clare Edwards tells us.

“We’ve just had some essential building works completed to make the tenants accommodation watertight and safe. Now with the help of our willing volunteers, the tenant’s house has been cleared out and is having a thorough repaint to freshen it up.

“It is a gorgeous 17th cottage but has been very neglected over the years and is definitely benefitting already from some TLC.

“A local resident, painter and decorator has offered to paint the actual pub throughout so, with the help of a local interior designer, the tenant has chosen a paint scheme to reflect the country pub feel that we would like to achieve.

“New soft furnishing and curtains will help freshen the pub up together with  repainting some of the pub furniture.

Volunteer work continues in the pub garden to make it more user and family friendly

“A long term project is getting the garden more user friendly, starting with taking down three big Leylandii trees which have all been deemed dangerous by three different arborists.

“This will also open up the space allowing us to maybe deck a large area, keeping a small grassed area for the children’s play area. The garden will play an important part to the success of the pub especially in the current coronavirus climate!

Click here to volunteer, join or for more info on The White House in Bladon.


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