Every cloud has a silver lining…… Here are some shining examples of what can be done in the face of adversity as Oxfordshire’s pubs and eateries use lockdown to transform their indoor and outdoor spaces in some truly inspiring ways. Check them out here:
1) Quod, Oxford High Street:
Quod has solved the social distancing problem neatly without changing the famous aesthetic of one of Oxford favourite restaurants, by inserting custom-designed stylish glass partitions between the tables to continue to provide a welcome and intimate atmosphere. The gardens courtyard has also been opened up as a safe and charming space to dine al fresco. Full review to follow. https://www.quod.co.uk
2) Up In Arms, Marston
Work started on the pub’s garden landscaping project before lockdown began so now was the perfect time to fine tune it ready to welcome its guests back. The new colourful benches create the perfect layout for keeping customers apart. The Dodo pub has also increased the distance between each table in the container area so customers aren’t backed onto one another and the brand new fresh grass had the chance to flourish! Check out the table tennis tables! Looks like a whole lotta fun. Find out more here: https://dodopubs.com/locations/the-up-in-arms/
3) White Rabbit, central Oxford
With the paint still drying on the new outdoor dining area at the back of the pub, lockdown proved the prefect time to extend that into the Oxford Playhouse car park complete with cobbles.
There is also a new reservations system, temperature checks and contactless hand sanitiser in place, plus a new table ordering app to come!
4) Handlebar Cafe and Kitchen, Oxford
First reopening Le Bar as a takeaway coffee, breakfasts, lunches and lifestyle shop at the end of May, the space was transformed from a cramped and cosy cocktail bar to a one in, one out shop, full of homemade cakes, breads, sandwiches and drinks.
Four weeks later they reopened upstairs with only nine tables, a third of it’s usual capacity remaining shut in the evenings for the foreseeable future.
So to capitalise on the summer instead they are using the new alfresco space for a tapas and cocktail bar, aka European style easy dining, easy when you have a Spanish head chef and an Italian cocktail bar manager!
5) Killingworth Castle, Wootton
Claire and Jim of Killingworth Castle have been busy constructing a new dining room at Killy for its loyal regulars as well as transforming the pub garden.
The pub is also using the new ‘track and trace’ app so drinkers now don’t need to book a table in advance from now on. Tables are available in the bar and beer garden for drinkers early evening. There is also a new menu to enjoy. But they need your patronage and support to make it work so get on down there and check out the changes for yourself. www.thekillingworthcastle.com/all-menus or calling 01993 811 401.
6) Cinnamon Stick, Middle Barton
One of our favourite restaurants has not only decorated its marquee to complement its wonderful Middle Eastern food, but its garden is now a dining oasis complete with full pool table.
Our only question is how soon can we try it out?
7) The Anchor, Jericho: The car park conversion has really transformed the space; with gravel, European style beer benches and lovely big sun (or rain) shades to make a vast terrace that’s Covid secure but also nice and comfortable to be in! “It’s been really amazing to welcome them back and look after them properly again. Everybody seems very happy and our huge terrace means people can spread out and the atmosphere is very relaxed” Justine Rosser says. https://www.theanchoroxford.com
“For now staff and customers are getting used to following the guidelines correctly but I’m sure it will all be second nature soon! We have masked staff, screens, new safety signs, correctly spaced tables and soon customers can order everything via apps. It’s been great to hear that all our hard work making The Anchor covid secure means our customers feel safe visiting us again, one regular even said ‘we feel totally safe, this is the future model for pubs!”
8) The Plough at 38, central Oxford
The new outside area on Cornmarket is a very exciting addition to Plough at 38’s offering and Oxford city centre itself. Boasting new tables and parasols you can now enjoy the large area on both Cornmarket Street and around the corner in St Michael’s Street from this weekend onwards, which owners hope will become a permanent feature.
A vital move, as the pub and restaurant didn’t have a garden or outside space area, the new offering is already a big success, begging the question why it didn’t happen before.
9) White Hart, Fyfield
Another wonderful project undertaken during lockdown has been this Oxfordshire gastropub’s complex garden which now boasts individual dining areas complete with tables, fire pits and herb garden dividers. Throw in Mark Chandler’s wonderful food and you are onto a winner.
10) Hollybush, Witney
The Witney gastropub is currently even more in demand than usual, thanks to its slick, sleek, sophisticated new outdoor dining space consisting of dining chalets complete with glass doors, dining tables and table service. It couldn’t be more charming.
Heres our review: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/review-why-you-must-hotfoot-it-down-to-the-hollybush-in-witney-to-try-out-their-new-garden-room-dining-pods/ As you can see we are rather smitten!
For more details and to book go to: https://hollybushwitney.com
11) White Hart, Wytham (yes we know we can’t count)
The new dining pods at The White Hart in Wytham have an epic waiting list. It’s easy to see why. The 10 dining pods have already seen an unprecedented response with 20,000 views on Facebook alone, hundreds of requests for booking and endless people wanting to buy one.
The pods are placed socially distanced from each other, across the courtyard, car park and frontage of the historic pub. Read about it here: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/pod-tastic-is-this-the-future-of-dining-out-if-so-the-white-hart-in-wytham-is-ready-and-waiting-to-feed-and-entertain-you/
The gypsy caravan style pods are made out of recycled timber and decking. They come complete with a table and seats for four, a cover and lighting, with night lighting too and can be linked if people need more than four seats. They are also weatherproof but open on one side so nice and cool. https://whitehartwytham.com