North London's Cultural Guide

The Oxford is reopening in April as a freehouse

In an interesting move, it's pretty much being taken over by the head honcho at West Berkshire Brewery, in fact

DRINK: The return of the Ox

As some of you will know, the landmark Kentish Town Road pub shut its doors on Sunday. And a pretty sight it really doesn’t make. The good news – following speculation as to its future – is that it’s only closing for three weeks.

Due to reopen in mid-April, it’s the latest project from a self-styled “serial entrepreneur” called David Bruce. His website explains how he has been involved for 51 years in what he calls the “international brewing and leisure industries.”

Remember those Frog & Firkin-type pubs? Well, that was David. And the Slug & Lettuce? Yup, him too. But rest assured, they were all aeons ago.

“Following the sale in 1988 of Bruce’s Brewery and the Firkin Pubs,” says the blurb on the website, “David created with his wife, Louise, The Bruce Trust, thereby embarking on a wide-ranging philanthropic career in addition to his many entrepreneurial activities.”


Interesting. The other day he emailed us to assure readers that the pub’s future is 100% “secure”, and that his latest pub company, Maverick Pubs Ltd, is the new freehold owner.

“It will reopen as a proper freehouse,” he says, “featuring lots of Renegade craft and traditional beers, pale ales and lagers from the West Berkshire Brewers.”

West Berkshire Brewers, you say? Why, that’s not as random as it sounds – because David owns that too.

There’ll also be a food offer, although for the moment they’re not prepared to divulge any further intel (apart from saying it will be “well-executed”). And remember – at least it’s an independent.

FOOD: Natural Food Store relaunches

Now with a seating plus two thousand books. Photo: PR

Parents rejoice: changes are afoot to the capacious café. They’ve closed the adjoining organic food store, replacing it with a seating area pimped with two thousand books for customers to peruse, as well as a kids’ play area with toys, games and chalkboards on the walls. 136-138 Kentish Town Road NW1, more here.

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