The Andrews family have announced they are to leave The Bell Inn in Grimsbury after running it for 30 years.
Current landlord Russell Andrews has run the pub for the past eight years with his wife Lynn after taking over from his mother and father, Dave and Shirley Andrews, who became landlords of the then Mitchells & Butlers owned pub in 1985. Mr Andrews said his family will miss the Middleton Road hostelry, now owned by Punch Taverns, but said the time is right to move on as he has “new ventures” on the horizon.
Remembering his father’s time at the pub Mr Andrews said: “They were good times. My dad really enjoyed it. The pub business was thriving back then, especially with the motorway coming in. I ran the pub when they went on holiday and jumped in behind the bar to help out. It was just a matter of learning things as you went along. Then when they said they were coming out we decided to give it a go.”
He continued: “It was always a thriving pub. It was voted pub of the year by Camra in 2007 and has never ever been out of the Good Pub Guide.”
But Mr Andrews admits the smoking ban and cheap alcohol prices at supermarkets made his eight-year tenure of the pub somewhat more challenging.
He said: “It’s becoming harder and harder and I’ve been offered other challenges, so it’s time to evacuate and give others the opportunity to run the pub. It has been 30 years in my family but sentiment can’t come into it now. Of course I will miss it. I grew up round here and Grimsbury is a great place. The people are so friendly. There’s always been a good atmosphere at the pub and we’ve never had any trouble here.”
Hailing from Grimsbury, Dave Andrews previously ran stalwart Banbury haulage firm Andy’s Transport with his father Joe and uncles Les and Norman before deciding to go into the pub trade when the firm was bought out in the mid 1980s.
Mr Andrews said: “That was a really well known Banbury company. It was nationalised twice in the war, moved General Foods when they moved to Banbury from Birmingham and moved all the coffee for General Foods and all the aluminium for Alcan.”
After his father moved into the pub trade Russell Andrews was the last remaining Andy’s Transport employee.
New landlords took over at The Bell Inn last week.