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13th May 2022

Brakspear reopens The Bull on Bell Street in Henley

First refurbishment for Honeycomb Houses

Brakspear has reopened The Bull on Bell Street in Henley-on-Thames after an extensive refurbishment, 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 a stunning, extensive outdoor space behind the pub, now called The Courtyard, with a water feature, outdoor fireplace and a retractable roof to ensure al fresco dining and drinking can continue, whatever the weather. 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 the current four rooms in a townhouse behind the pub.

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 a range of dishes produced from top quality ingredients sourced primarily from the UK. Brunch, lunch and dinner menus are complemented by a changing specials board offering seasonal dishes and a Sunday Roast offer, as well as a dedicated children’s menu.

Drinks include Brakspear cask ales, a carefully curated wine list and a long list of gins and other spirits, as well as selected cocktails including the Honeycomb Houses Signature Cocktail, the Bees Knees. Mocktails, soft drinks and premium low/no alcohol drinks also feature.

Finally, a new Honeycomb Houses coffee blend created by artisan coffee experts Wogan Coffee is an invigorating 100% Arabica blend that tastes great and does good, thanks to a partnership with Teach a Man to Fish, a charity equipping young people in the developing world with vital life skills.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “The aim of this 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.

“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.”

The Bull has recruited an additional 12 team members, who have all received full training so they can deliver the Honeycomb Houses service to guests.

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, bringing together Brakspear’s managed pubs with a strong overall identify while retaining each pub’s individual character. The estate includes 10 pubs in the Cotswolds and in locations around Brakspear’s Henley heartland, as well as The Gyll Manor near Horsham, West Sussex, purchased in February this year.



Honeycomb Houses

Brakspear’s managed pub division was established in 2013 with the opening of The Bull on Bell Street in the centre of Henley-on-Thames, just yards from the site of the original Brakspear brewery founded in 1711, and next to the company’s current head office.

In November 2021, Brakspear rebranded its managed estate as Honeycomb Houses, underpinned with an ethos of ‘Our House, Your Home’, offering relaxed, attentive service to guests and creating a ‘home from home’ atmosphere.

 The estate comprises:

In Henley-on-Thames

  • Bull on Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames: Brakspear’s first managed pub, opened in April 2013,  just yards from the site of the original Brakspear brewery founded in 1711.

In the Cotswolds

  • Frogmill, Shipton Oliffe near Cheltenham: reopened with major investment in 2018. Wedding and events venue as well as offering accommodation, dining and a pub.
  • Sheep on Sheep Street, Stow-on-the-Wold: opened in July 2016, contemporary bar and restaurant with 22 bedrooms promising to bring a ‘slice of London to the Cotswolds’,
  • Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold: believed to be the oldest pub in the country, with parts dating back to 947AD.  Grade 2* listed building with 13 bedrooms.
  • George Townhouse, Shipston-on-Stour: a Grade II listed building with 15 bedrooms.
  • Egypt Mill, Nailsworth, near Stroud: acquired in March 2020. The converted mill offers riverside dining, bedrooms and a wedding and functions business.

Other locations

  • Nag’s Head, Abingdon: purchased in June 2019. Iconic Oxfordshire pub, set on its own island half way across Abingdon Bridge, with extensive gardens seating 200 people and a barge bar.
  • The Lion, Wendlebury, Bicester: food-led pub with 190 cover restaurant and 13 bedrooms.
  • The Chequers, Marlow: busy High Street pub and restaurant with nine bedrooms.
  • Ghyll Manor, near Horsham, West Sussex: a historic hotel with a wedding and functions in extensive grounds, acquired by Brakspear in February 2022.

Press release issued on behalf of:    Brakspear

Further information: /  07841 694137