Pub reopens with new faces behind the bar

Licensees Mariam Naidu, far right, and Karen McDermott, centre, with staff Ryan Bloomfield, Matt Fox, Courtney Harding, Tom Harding and Saskia Caines. Photo: Chris Roberts/WiderViewPhoto PR

THE College Arms in Lower Quinton, which was once owned by King Henry VIII, has reopened with the emphasis firmly placed on putting the newly-refurbished pub at the very heart of the local community.

The building that dates back to the 1600s had been closed since the turn of the year, but finally reopened earlier this month, and locals are raising their glasses to the new owners who intend to retain its historical pedigree while looking to offer something more to its customers.

“This is a community-led pub now,” said Ashok Naidu who jointly owns the property with Dean McDermott.

“We want people to come here, enjoy the food and drink, but also to regard The College Arms as a place where local groups can meet and tell us what they want.”

At a time when some local pubs are struggling or have even closed Ashok said the word ‘local’ is crucial to the future survival of such establishments.

“The food and produce is sourced locally. The waiting staff are from the village and already we have had local customers coming back to us four or five times since we opened,” he added.

The Sunday Roast has been put back on the menu, children under 12 eat for free, soft drinks are offered to youngsters as opposed to fizzy pop drinks, and all food is organic.

The building itself used to be owned by Henry VIII and has been “lovingly restored” by the new management team which also includes Ashok’s and Dean’s wives, Mariam and Karen.

“We have a strategy. We will also be looking to tap into the American and Japanese markets while taking care of our regular customers. We also plan to stage some medieval evenings where people can enjoy mead, ale and food from Tudor times,” Ashok said.

new Plan for White Horse homes

THE fortunes of The White Horse in Ettington are not so positive, with fresh plans to convert it into one house, extend a cottage on the site and to build two detached houses on the land.

A similar plan that could have seen four homes built on the site in Banbury Road was refused by Stratford District Council in March.