New pub landlords ride Cock Horse to Banbury Cross

Cheers! Gail and Dave Gilkes celebrate taking over The Banbury Cross pub on Butchers Row
Cheers! Gail and Dave Gilkes celebrate taking over The Banbury Cross pub on Butchers Row

A pub landlord couple are living the famous nursery rhyme by moving from The Cock Horse to The Banbury Cross.

The poetry was not lost on Gail and Dave Gilkes, who officially took over the Butchers Row pub on Tuesday (January 22), after just over a year on Chatsworth Drive.

Dave and Gail behind the bar at The Banbury Cross

Dave and Gail behind the bar at The Banbury Cross

Music must flow through their veins as they want The Banbury Cross to be the town’s only soul-dedicated pub, particularly with the soon-to-be-renamed function room, Gilkos.

“It will be a challenge for us as they are different,” Gail said.

“We more or less knew everyone who came to The Cock Horse so we’ve got to do it all over again but here you’ll get passing trade where people will come in and then you’ll never see them again.”

Soul nights were a popular feature of the Gilkes’s tenure at The Cock Horse but the location meant some had to rely on designated drivers or taxis.

So the pair hope the move to the town centre will bring Dave’s famous DJ sets more fare – but the Saturday night karaoke is staying!

Other than trying to make the front room a little brighter and more appealing, little else will change, but Gail and Dave are excited to put their stamp on the place.

“We wanted a pub that was a proper pub, not a chain and something with personality that we can add even more personality to,” she said.

“And Dave’s been DJing in Banbury since he was about 15, so we wanted somewhere we could put live music on so the function room out the back was perfect for that.

“And to be able to show live sport in the front as well so we could hit two markets, that’s the appeal.”