WITNEY needs more late nightspots, pub landlords said, after its only nightclub was replaced by a cafe bar.

They said revellers are going to Oxford after the closure of Market Square’s iZi’s, which could shut as late as 3am, last September.

Its replacement, Como Lounge, opened on Wednesday after a £500,000 refurbishment.

Mark Wates, owner of Nortons cafe bar in Langdale Gate, said: “We definitely need a late licence venue in Witney because people want choice.

“Young people are all going into Oxford for nights out so you have to give them what they want.

“We need it to be like how it was before, iZi’s was a nightclub but this is more of a food-orientated establishment.”

Another Market Square nightclub, Palace, closed in 2010 and was replaced by Wetherspoons’ The Company of Weavers pub.

Shaun Hartless, who ran iZi’s, said his nightclub struggled after the pub, which can sell alcohol to 1am from Thursday to Saturday, opened its doors.

Nortons can sell alcohol to 3.30am Thursday to Sunday and Corn Street live music and comedy venue Fat Lil’s to 2am the same days.

Witney & District Chamber of Commerce chairwoman Lesley Semaine, landlady of the Royal Oak pub in High Street, said: “It’s always nice to see smart places in a town but the only downside to that is the youngsters go to Oxford now because late venues have closed down. The adult population were pleased it wouldn’t be a nightclub but it’s a shame there’s nothing to replace it.”

Damo’s Taxis owner Damian McClure said: “At one point there were too many nightclubs but now it’s going the other way because there’s too many eateries.”

Como Lounge has a rooftop terrace and operations manager Kieron Butcher said: “It’s a pretty informal setting and we’re doing everything from a cup of coffee to a three-course meal.

“Kids, families and dogs are welcome and we will have evening quiz nights.

“We have background music rather than loud music. It’s not a nightclub but it’s different to anything else in Witney.”


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