Bid to put Bristol pub at heart of community
Twenty years ago, The Oxford in Totterdown was a busy corner pub at the heart of the community.
After that the local became rundown and known for drug dealing and crime, and for years families avoided it like the plague.
But now, eager new landlord Jon Evans and his family, who took over just a few weeks ago, want to get The Oxford back to its former glory.
Mr Evans, who has lived in Totterdown for 20 years, has given the pub a complete makeover, inside and out, with new flooring, newly upholstered chairs and benches, bright, fresh colours, and a lick of smart black paint to the outside of the pub.
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He also wants to show clips of films shot in Totterdown as part of the Totterdown Art Trail.
The 42-year-old told the Evening Post: "People still cross the road to avoid walking past the pub. For various reasons it just lost its identity.
"I moved to the South West when I was 18 and I used to drink in The Oxford when I was in my 20s and 30s. I had some great times. This was the busiest pub in south Bristol.
"The old landlord and lady at the time, Phil and Val, had the pub packed out to the rafters every night. There was hardly room to move about."
Mr Evans, who lives with his partner Angela Clemmings and their three children, has been in sales most of his life, but ran the New Found Out, which is around the corner from The Oxford, 18 years ago, for about two years.
In recent years, under previous management, drinkers at The Oxford have been arrested for supplying cocaine to undercover police officers, and a former landlady was jailed for handling stolen goods.
But inside the new-look pub there are signs saying "Drugs are not welcome", and Mr Evans said people will be barred for life if they are caught with drugs.
He said: "I will not tolerate any drugs inside or outside this pub. We are a family pub; children are welcome until 8pm.
"We want it to become a traditional pub. And like Phil did 20 years ago, I am not going to take any messing about. I'm taking a firm stance.
"It used to be a place that couples came out looking nice for an evening."
The Oxford now has live music every Friday, and will soon be showing sport, including rugby, football and racing.
Mr Evans also wants to resurrect the pub's old pool and darts teams, and will soon be serving traditional British food.
Today, Mr Evans will celebrate his 43rd birthday with a party.
He is calling the night the Soul Room, and a DJ will play Northern Soul, Motown, and R'n'B.
The Oxford is open noon to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and noon to 3pm, and 7pm to 11pm, on Sundays.