Pubs, restaurants and cafes across Oxfordshire are getting ready to welcome customers back to eat and drink inside today, as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

For those without outdoor seating or gardens, Monday May 17 could not come soon enough, and preparations have been underway for weeks across the county to get ready for the big day.

“we are really looking forward to welcoming everybody. After all, that’s why we are here -that’s why we do this”

Mike North from the The Michelin starred Nut Tree in Murcott said: “We made the difficult decision to remain closed until we could seat guests inside as there were too many variables to make it viable for us to open outside only. We are reopening on Wednesday 19th May, as long as no new restrictions come into play, so please support us and other pubs who didn’t open outside. We are keeping our fingers crossed,” Mike adds. https://www.nuttreeinn.co.uk

The Nut Tree

Tina Jeffrey of Gourdans restaurant in St Clements, who opened in the middle of lockdown in September 2020, told us: “We can’t wait any longer and the good news is that the Gourdans team is re-opening on Wednesday May 19 and it can’t come fast enough. We are so excited and can’t wait to welcome our diners. It has been a bumpy ride with highs and lows but most of all we have missed greeting our customers.” Gourdans will be open from Wednesday-Saturday 12-10pm. www.gourdans.co.uk

Green Routes vegan cafe on Magdalen Road in East Oxford, which opened during lockdown https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/vegan-dream-team-why-the-succesful-plant-based-green-routes-cafe-in-east-oxford-opened-during-the-pandemic/ said: “We’re incredibly excited to share the full Green Routes experience for the first time ever. Our epic new brunch menu starts today, which we’ve been working on for quite some time. With the indoors opening we can finally utilise the unique space here with some exciting supper, lunch & brunch clubs.” https://www.greenroutes.co.uk

Green Routes cafe vibe

Ross Drummond of No 1 Ship Street which is re-opening today said: “It’s magic to be back and to get the team back together. We are hugely thankful to have survived and still be here, but after 15 months of not serving our customers face-to-face, it will be nice to have that contact back again. We have got such a great menu and wine list ready for everybody and some new outdoor space from this weekend, so I think we are re-opening better than ever before.” https://www.no1shipstreet.com

No 1 Ship Street

The Mole Inn in Nuneham Courtney and The Mole & Chicken in Easington, which remained closed during lockdown, reopened today. Landlady Sarah Heather-Holt says: “We are so excited about re-opening. We ummed and ahhed about whether to open or not during the pandemic but it was so difficult to plan for, especially with the weather, so we cannot wait to get back to work and see our customers again.” https://www.themoleinn.com

Sarah and her team at The Mole

Patrick Moore at The Hand and Shears in Church Hanborough which is reopening today, said: “Our takeaway has helped us survive but to open our doors again properly is incredible. It’s not just the business coming back to life but the community, and everyone we know and love returning, so we are really looking forward to welcoming everybody. After all, that’s why we are here – that’s why we do this.”

The Hand and Shears team

Kristina Hromosyak, General Manager at The Ivy Oxford Brasserie said: “The team and myself are delighted to be reopening our doors and welcoming guests back into the restaurant. Not only have we updated our menus but we also have an array of fun and exciting cocktails.” https://theivyoxford.com

The Ivy Oxford Brasserie

Pompette in Summertown’s Ben Wilkins said: “We are very excited obviously about opening on Tuesday. We have been running Pompette at Home, but it’s not the same as having a full restaurant. We are anticipating a very busy summer and have a fully booked week ahead of us.” With Sarah Wiseman Gallery‘s art on the walls and a new menu, Pompette is raring to go. Tues-Sat lunch and dinner. Sunday lunch. https://www.pompetterestaurant.co.uk

The Pompette interior

Award-winning Sri Lankan restaurant The Coconut Tree in St Clements is reopening today and extended its 50% off for all eat-in customers (Monday to Wednesday) until the end of January 2022. https://www.thecoconut-tree.com/oxford.

“It’s really nice to see our food on plates again after five months of putting it in boxes”

Brand Director Anna Garrod said: “We’ve been inundated with requests to book tables so we are thrilled to be reopening and can’t wait to bring our Sri Lankan hospitality back.”

The Coconut Tree in St Clements

Phoebe Hall from The Edge Eatery in Witney, which opened in lockdown, https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/we-are-crazy-busy-why-the-edge-eatery-in-witney-is-such-a-raging-success-despite-opening-during-the-pandemic/ opened today for the first time and was delighted to see some of their regular takeaway customers coming in and sitting down! “It’s really nice to see our food on plates again after five months of putting it in boxes and great to see people using our space for the first time,” she smiles. http:// https://theedgeeateryltd.co.uk

The Edge Eatery

The Jam Factory in central Oxford is opening quietly from Wednesday with reduced hours to allow customers and staff time to get used to being open again. Kicking off with a big art exhibition OXFORD OPEN featuring 50 local artists, owner Andrew Norton says: “We are looking forward to welcoming customers old and new.” New hours are Wed-Friday 12noon-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. https://www.thejamfactoryoxford.com

The Jam Factory

Beccy Webb from The Chester Arms who opened their outdoor space only recently said: “It will be great to see everyone again. It’s easier to mange when people can eat indoors as well so we will have half bookings and half walk-ins. The locals have been amazing during lockdown so we are looking forward to having them back.” http://www.thechesterarmsoxford.co.uk

The Chester Arms

Tap Social, White House, Abingdon Road, which opens for the first time today, is a new addition for Oxford to enjoy, having been extensively refurbed during the pandemic. CEO Tess Taylor said: “We are so excited to welcome people indoors today. We’ve been working to transform the White House into a bright, welcoming, and comfortable community space to hang out, and we can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve created!” https://www.tapsocialmovement.com/pages/the-white-house-by-tap-social

The new interior at Tap Social’s White House

KATHERINE MACALISTER.