Luke and Ben in The new look Chequers in Witney

The light, bright enticing interior, crackling log fire and gleaming bar is a far cry from The Chequers in Witney‘s former incarnation as a smokehouse.

But having taken over the historic grade II listed pub in Corn Street in October, chef Ben Bullen and GM Luke Buckle have dedicated themselves to restoring it to its former glory and have now reopened.

Thew new look Chequers in Witney

Planning to introduce a great food offering, if Ben’s cooking is anything to go by, Witney is in for a treat. Well known for his stints at The Feathers in Woodstock, Sudbury House Hotel in Faringdon and Masterchef the Professionals, and most recently The White House in Bladon his reputation precedes him. READ OUR REVIEW HERE

His partner in crime, best friend Luke Buckle, who has worked in hospitality for years, is also raring to go and the pair immediately saw The Chequers’ potential when having a look around the Stonegate pub recently.

“The Chequers just had a great energy about it, and even though it needed significant updating and cleaning, we could see its potential. We could imagine what it would look like if given the right care and attention. Because it’s got so many nooks and crannies and different seating areas, as well as a fantastic courtyard garden, with 56 covers in all.”

Luke and Ben in The new look Chequers

So why here and why now? “It just seemed like the right opportunity at the right time,” they said. “We’ve been wanting to expand for a while now that The White House is up and running READ ABOUT IT HERE and Witney has such a great mix of people, so we wanted to bring something new to the table, to join in, to be a great all-round pub.”

“It was time for a new challenge,” the duo said, having met at school in Banbury. “So we’ve been decorating, painting, cleaning, filling skips and putting our stamp on The Chequers.”

The new look Chequers in Witney

And having opened on November 25, the pair are keen to get their food offering up and running. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, just offer a good Sunday roast, decent pint, nice pub food and a welcoming, safe atmosphere. We want to cater for everyone whether it’s customers popping in for a coffee, lunch or an evening crowd,” they add.

“But we know what it’s like to run a busy kitchen and bar so we think it’s a match made in heaven. We grew up in pubs and have so much experience between us,” the pair add.

Best friends Ben and Luke are now running The Chequers in Witney

Therefore Ben and Luke are on the look out for some top notch chefs to take over in the kitchens, (potential chefs can apply to in the hope that The Chequers can start serving food before Christmas. But in the meantime get down to The Chequers on Corn St and have a look around.