Michelin-starred Harwood Arms alumni to open Oxfordshire gastropub

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

The Bottle & Glass: new gastropub is set to open in April
The Bottle & Glass: new gastropub is set to open in April

Related tags: Harwood arms, Local food

David Holliday and Alex Sergeant both made their names managing Michelin-starred London pub the Harwood Arms before teaming up for their new venture, the Bottle & Glass, Oxfordshire, which opens next month. 

The Grade II-listed freehouse was given a major refurbishment following a significant investment from the local Phillimore estate, which intervened to prevent it being developed into a residential property. It will open its doors to the public under Holliday and Sergeant’s stewardship on Saturday 1 April.

It will feature a separate 'locals' bar', a wood-burning stove and an outdoor terrace area. 

The Bottle & Glass will serve a range of dishes making use of local produce and seasonal game such as wood pigeon with beetroot, pickled berries and cobnuts, and Estate Fallow deer chop with brewer’s malt, parsley root and seasonal greens.

A bar menu will also be available, featuring more traditional dishes such as Lancashire bomb with onion pastry; hand-raised pork pies; and Scotch eggs.

The site’s drinks offer will champion local beers – including Loddon beer, which is brewed on the Phillimore Estate – and a variety of wines and Champagnes.

The Morning Advertiser ​caught up with Holliday ahead of the pub’s opening:

MA: Have there been any unique challenges in getting the venue ready – especially because it is Grade II listed? 

DH: ​The estate has done a fantastic job in really respecting what was already here, Spratley Studios in Henley designed the new trading areas and have been careful to make sure it sits well within the local vernacular. From a trading perspective, the bar area is a challenge because it’s very small but we are working around that and will have a lot of the wine displayed in the dining room. There is so much character and charm in the old sections of the pub that any areas that are slightly impractical get forgotten about because it is just so beautiful.  

MA: Has the Harwood Arms’ reputation helped in stirring up publicity? Do you feel under pressure to live up to those expectations?

DH: ​Mentioning you were involved with an institution such as the Harwood Arms will always help to 'catch the eye’, we both owe a lot to the people we’ve worked with at the Harwood. Steve Williams especially. You always feel under pressure before an opening, especially when you’re investing £250,000 of your own money. We’re confident in what we’re putting in place and feel it will be on-point with demand in the area. Unfussy and interesting local fare served by knowledgeable friendly staff at a price point that isn’t unachievable for customers.  

MA: What are the main considerations to be taken into account when opening a site like this?

DH: ​The offering has to be approachable as well as price-sensitive while still keeping true to your ethos, we will be using produce that is on our doorstep and cooking food using ingredients from as near to the pub as we can get. Our beer is under a mile away and our cheese and beef suppliers are a mere 10 minutes away. 

MA: How do you define ‘pub food’? 

DH: ​Our definition is just that we are a proper pub that happens to serve great, tasty local food. We cook what is around us at a fair price. We also have an extensive bar menu so there is something for all budgets, that goes for our drinks menus too. We are a large site and would rather be accessible and busy than very expensive for a few.

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