I was lucky enough this week to have a few good excuses to spend time in the Chequers pub here in Chipping Norton. With the attentive bar staff and brilliant food and drinks selection on offer, I was in my element. Barmen being notoriously chatty, it didn’t take long to feel warmly welcomed by, and ’get to know’, Jim the landlord. Here’s what I learnt.
‘My wife Indra and I moved to Chipping Norton in September 1997. At the time we were both working for the Wychwood Brewery in Witney. Indra was part of the office sales team and I was an area manager for the pub estate. We had both previously been pub managers in Bristol and Reading. We left the brewery in 1998. Indra worked as chef at the old recording studios on New Street cooking food for the artists who were working there, notably Status Quo and XTC. I worked in different sales and marketing jobs before becoming a local window cleaner. When the opportunity of the leasehold of The Chequers came up we decided we’d give the pub trade another go. We’ve been at the Chequers for 3 and a quarter years now.
The Chequers is a well-known pub in the area. It specialises in fine quality ales, wine and food. It is one of the oldest pubs in the area and benefits from it’s position next to the Theatre in the old part of Chipping Norton. The pub won many awards in the 90′s and early 2000′s for it’s general trade. The onset of a turn-down in pub trade towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century unfortunately did not pass the the pub by, but since we took over we have seen a rise in trade and are hopeful that with a fantastic new chef and our winning of the local CAMRA Pub of the Year award in 2013 we can continue to grow.
As anyone in the food and drink industry will tell you, hours are long and there are many costs, legalities and taxes to deal with. But at the end of a session when people have enjoyed your company, food, drink and service and left smiling, it invigorates you to get up and do it again. We love living in Chippy and our children love it too. The Chequers has a great base of regular customers who range across the board and we’ve also noticed more visitors to Chipping Norton from other parts of the UK and abroad. That is hopefully a sign that more people are coming to our town to enjoy what we have to offer.’