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Chester Arms gives punters a sneak preview of its reopening
AN East Oxford pub is to reopen for the first time in almost 18 months for a festive sneak peek at its redevelopment.
The Chester – its new name – in Iffley Fields will open from December 19 to 21 to mark the forthcoming final stage of works. It will fully reopen in March.
The Chester Arms closed in July 2012 after owner Woodchester Estates said it was no longer viable as a pub.
Oxford City Council turned down a plan to turn it into a house last November.
But Woodchester then won permission to build two homes in the pub garden, making the business plan for the pub viable.
It has now been leased to a consortium led by Drew Brammer for 15 years. He said heavy building work has been completed and the pub would be redecorated after Christmas.
He said of the “pop up” pub plan: “The idea is that we have turned a corner with the work so we thought it would be time to do a little party and invite people as well.”
Mr Brammer used to run city pop-up restaurant Oxfork while another partner, Fraser Nicolson, is a former manager of Magdalen Road’s Rusty Bicycle.
He continued: “I am very excited about the opening.
“It has almost been a year since we first looked at the property.
“We will be giving people a taste of what is to come.
“There has been lots of interest in the pub so far.
“Every day we get people popping in and out to find out what’s going on and we have even had a few members of the community coming in to help.”
The new development will include a cornershop and café. The temporary opening will be from 6pm to 10pm.
Mr Brammer said: “We are trying to get away from the concept of a pub.
“We will open during the day as a cafe and we will have a little corner shop stocking local produce. In the evenings it will be a local pub.”
Beers will be provided by the county’s Loose Cannon Brewery, Compass Brewery and Fisher & Co.
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