Brakspear pub the Bull reopens after major makeover

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Major refurb: Brakspear reopen the Bull, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Major refurb: Brakspear reopen the Bull, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Related tags Property Multi-site pub operators Oxfordshire Brakspear

Multiple operator and brewer Brakspear has reopened the Bull on Bell Street in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, after an extensive refurb, the first major investment within its managed estate since it was rebranded as Honeycomb Houses last autumn.

The makeover, devised by Brakspear’s in-house design team, has created an extensive outdoor space behind the pub, now called the Courtyard, with a water feature, outdoor fireplace and a retractable roof. 

The refurbishment has also created a new private dining and meeting room accommodating up to 22 guests, and added five bedrooms in an adjoining property, to complement to current four rooms in a townhouse behind the pub. 

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said the aim of the refurbishment was to turn the Bull into a haven away from the busy high street, offering guests a space to enjoy a brunch, a coffee, a bite to eat, a pint after work or a special occasion meal.   

New decor

The new interior décor features bold floral and botanical wallpaper and fabrics, plants and flowers to create a luxuriant feel, while nautical stripes and paddles are a nod to Henley’s rowing heritage and designs featuring bees and honeycombs are a reference to Honeycomb Houses. 

The new menu offers all day dining, with brunch, lunch and dinner menus complemented by a specials board, Sunday roast offer and dedicated children’s menu. 

“We’re delighted with the results, which make the Bull the perfect embodiment of the Honeycomb Houses ethos of ‘Our House, Your Home’, where guests are made to feel completely at home the minute they step through the door, thanks to an informal, welcoming environment and relaxed, attentive service offered by the team members,” Davies added. 

Extensive menu

Drinks include Brakspear cask ales, wine, gins and spirits, soft drinks and cocktails including the Honeycomb Houses Signature Cocktail. 

Also, a new Honeycomb Houses coffee blend created by artisan coffee experts Wogan Coffee will be available, thanks to a partnership with Teach a Man to Fish, a charity equipping young people in the developing world with vital life skills. 

The pub has recruited an added 12 team members who have all received full training. 

The Bull on Bell Street was Brakspear’s first managed pub when it opened in 2013 and stands on the site of the original Brakspear brewery, dating back to 1779. 

The Honeycomb Houses division was launched in November 2021. The estate includes 10 pubs in the Cotswolds and in location around Henley as well as the Gyll Manor near Horsham, West Sussex, purchased in February this year. 

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