Rich, Chris and Mish - the team behind The new look Duke of Marlborough pub on the way out of Woodstock

While the rest of us have just been surviving lockdown, it’s been all go at The Duke Of Marlborough in Woodstock as it races to be finished in time for its February deadline.

To kick things off and give us a taste of what’s to come, has had a good look around at the historic pub’s new interior, the huge, gleaming kitchen and the imminent takeaway service menu being launched on Saturday.

“In terms of the food we want to continually reinvent ourselves to keep people interested and coming back for more”

“There’s been a lot going on in the last few months to get everything ready in time,” director Chris Brewster tells me looking around at the slick wooden bar, orange banquettes, velvet chaise longues, parquet flooring, new coffee machine and the portrait of Winston Churchill gazing admiringly on.

“We’ve gone for a classic, vintage inn look with a contemporary feel. We want it to be relaxing and welcoming, so the technology and booking systems we have in place are state of the art,” he adds proudly.

the former Kings Head in central Woodstock will be called the Back Lane Tavern, rather than the previously suggested 11 Park Lane

And the food will follow suit. You can expect pub classics alongside a much more adventurous street food vibe.

Chris, Rich and Mish in the new look bar. Mish and Chris are business partners and co-directors of Brewmish Ltd. Rich is the general manager.

As for the former Kings Head in central Woodstock, taken over by the same Brewmish Ltd team, Chris can confirm that it will now be called the Back Lane Tavern, rather than the previously suggested 11 Park Lane.

“The locals know it as the Back Lane, so we were delighted to finally be given permission to call it The Back Lane Tavern,” Chris confirms.

As to the timings there, again that will very much depend on what the government allows, but with April mentioned previously, the extensive refurbishment will still go ahead, including a full bar relocation and garden extension. READ ABOUT IT HERE:

“The Back Lane Tavern is going to be a rugby-friendly pub with an international tapas style menu and some delicious wine,” Chris says.

The former Kings Head in Woodstock is due to reopen in April as The Back Lane Tavern depending on what the government allows

“We are also extending the garden out the back, putting in a pizza oven to make it another great outdoor space in the centre of Woodstock, and aim to open for breakfast and brunch,” Chris adds.

But back to the job in hand, getting ready for this week’s first takeaway shift at The Duke Of Marlborough.

Kicking off with American Night, the Saturday menu will change weekly to keep things interesting, so while this week you can expect the likes of the Billy Big Balls Burger, Veggie Jack Burger, the Battered Corn Dog and a Reese’s cheesecake, as well as an extensive kids menu, (full review to follow) next week’s will be entirely different. 

The new look bar

“You can expect a round-the-world take, so it will be different every week,” general manager Rich Gibbs explains. “But to start with, Saturday night’s takeaway will run from 4pm-8pm, with a pick up service, ordered online. Order here:

Friday, Saturday and Sunday breakfast menus will soon follow, all served under the watchful eye of executive chef Mike Wallis.

The huge kitchens have also been painted, cleaned, rearranged and re-equipped so now it’s all systems go in terms of the new takeaway.

“We’ve even got marquees sourced in case there are outside social distancing measures, so we really are ready for every eventuality”

“It gives us a chance to show everyone who we are, and what sort of food we will be serving, ready for when we re-open – to introduce ourselves if you like,” Chris adds.

“Plus, in terms of the food, we want to keep reinventing ourselves to keep people interested and coming back for more,” general manager Rich Gibbs adds.

The new look bar

It’s obviously hard to know when that will be at present, although a government announcement is expected soon to give us an indication of when pubs might reopen.

“Either way, we are two weeks away from finishing everything here,” Chris says, “so we will be ready.”

With 70 covers inside, endless options outside in the vast beer garden, and the S3 bus stopping outside, the team at The Duke Of Marlborough look set to be pretty busy.

“We’ve even got marquees sourced in case there are outside social distancing measures, so we really are ready for every eventuality,” Chris adds.

Chris, Mish and Rich behind the new bar

As for the 13 rooms on site, they are due to be completed next, providing a popular accommodation option.

So all-in-all it looks set to be a busy year for Brewmish Ltd and Woodstock in general. “We can’t wait,” Chris smiles.

Order your takeaway here: