From late night piano bars, to cocktails, burgers, street food, proper pub grub and even a wine cafe – new bars, restaurants and pubs are opening left, right and centre in Witney, making it a top night out.
George Sandbach who recently opened up late night piano bar Little Sandys in Langdale Court where Nortons used to be, said Witney was crying out for some new places to go and they’d had a great couple of months.
“people were going into Oxford for a night out or just not bothering. But now they are all coming back and it’s great to see”
Emily Rutter, who recently opened Blind Tiger, a prohibition style cocktail bar with live music, in Market Square, agrees. “We knew something was missing in Witney because people were going into Oxford for a night out or just not bothering. But now they are all coming back and it’s great to see.”
Tom Pickett and his partner Phoebe, who run The Edge Eatery in town, are currently putting the finishing touches to their new street food burger venue in Fat Lils which will be open from April.
“Of course it’s a gamble opening up a new place. But we have been so busy in the cafe, the busiest we have ever been, and the timing felt right. The numbers are returning to Witney and it’s great to see,” Tom says.
A few doors up the road, the chefs in The Three Horseshoes are preparing for a busy lunchtime having reopened a few weeks ago under Tommy Higgs, the former general manager, and friends Alex Holmes, Mike Dove and wife Amanda.
the support has been unbelievable since we opened. I’ve never seen a pub so busy.
“It was a massive risk opening up her but we wanted to bring a community aspect to The Horseshoes and make it more affordable for people in Witney to go out again.
“And the support has been unbelievable since we opened. It’s like a Witney bubble. I’ve never seen a pub so busy. And we’ve got big plans for the summer. There’s even talk of a Corn Street street party.”
Throw in Campden Wine Bar which has taken up residence in Marriots Walk, perfect for any who likes a nice drop of vino, and you’ve go it all covered.
And with The Hollybush due to reopen soon under new ownership, the Witney renaissance will be complete.
So why Witney? “The big thing for us is entertainment and we saw a gap in the market here,” George from Little Sandy’s explains.
“It’s great that so many new businesses have opened up together. The more the merrier. Because we work really well together and the more people coming to Witney for a night out the better.
between us we offer more options and can attract more people for a good night out
So is there competition then? “Not really – The Blind Tiger caters for a younger crowd than us, so between us we offer more options and can attract more people for a good night out here.”
Tommy from The Horseshoes agrees: “We always send people up to Sandy’s when they have finished here. We just see it as the town getting busier and having more to offer and we want to support that and bring even more business here.
Emily from The Blind Tiger concurs: “I remember what Witney was like seven years ago in terms of going out. And we just wanted to bring that back and give people a really fun, affordable night out. And while it’s early days, people seem to love it and the numbers speak for themselves. So far opening up here has been a really positive experience.”