Monday, 27 September 2021

We’ll prove pub does have a future, say new tenants

THE new tenants of a village pub say they are determined to prove it is viable.

THE new tenants of a village pub say they are determined to prove it is viable.

Brakspear put the Crown in Nuffield on the market last month after the previous tenants decided to leave.

Now Richard Grant, 47, and Sam Murray, 26, who were working at the pub, have persuaded the company to give them a temporary contract until the end of June.

Miss Murray, who has worked at the Crown on-and-off since she was 13, said: “I didn’t want to see the pub close down again and I don’t want it be turned into an office or a house because it would be such a shame.

“It’s a nice little hub for Nuffield and Hambleden residents to meet up at.”

Mr Grant, a chef who has worked in pubs for 25 years, said: “Having been here and seen the potential it has, we are determined to turn it back into a good old-fashioned pub with good food.

“It doesn’t need to be a pricey restaurant. There is still a market around here for good old-fashioned food.

“We want people to feel comfortable coming in here for a pint with their dog or for a meal with their mates.”

Mr Grant has previously worked at the Greyhound in Peppard and the Perch and Pike in South Stoke and his parents and grandfather are former Brakspear tenants.

Miss Murray and Mr Grant have made the interior of the pub more traditional by adding bar stools, buying candlesticks and displaying horse brasses belonging to Mr Grant’s father around the fireplace as well as hanging flower baskets outside.

Friends and family helped them get the pub ready in time for the re-opening. Mr Grant, who has also designed a new logo for the pub, said: “We want to prove to Brakspear that we are right. This is the only pub between Henley and Wallingford and between us we think we can get the formula right to make it work.

“We’re coming into the spring and summer, which is a good time for pubs, and ideally we’ll be able to keep it going for another three months to have a good crack at it. It’s a bit of a risk but sometimes you have to stick your head above the parapet.”

Miss Murray, who has worked at the Crown under three tenants, said: “The old Dog and Duck at Highmoor has been on the market for years and we hope it’s the same situation here because the market is a bit slow.

“All we have to do is give people what they want, make them feel really welcome and relaxed and greet them with a smile.

“It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind but a fun one. Everyone who has come in has said they love the place and it is very welcoming.”

The pair plan to encourage extra business by running regular quiz nights and hosting barbecues and hog roasts in the summer.

Mr Grant said: “It’s a lovely pub and when it’s full you just get such a kick out of it.”

Sallie and Paul Adams, the lasy tenants, ran the Crown for nine months from July last year. The pub was open for just five months under the previous tenants.

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