Bampton Pub Landlord Honoured for Exceptional Service During Pandemic

Bampton Pub Landlord Honoured for Exceptional Service During Pandemic

Steve Mace, landlord of the Morris Clown, recognised by CAMRA for his commitment to serving customers during lockdown.

Bampton Pub Landlord Honoured for Exceptional Service During Pandemic

Steve Mace, the dedicated landlord of the Morris Clown pub in Bampton, has been honoured for his extraordinary service to patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mace’s relentless efforts included delivering ale to customers’ homes on his bicycle during the harsh winter months of 2020 and 2021 lockdowns.

In recognition of Mace’s 33-year service at the West Oxfordshire pub and his commendable dedication during the pandemic, he has been presented with a long service certificate by the Oxford branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

“I don’t have a wife, children or mortgage, so I’m very cheap to run. We’ve always had loyal customers and most are good friends. The most important thing about retirement is having something to do – but this is my life,” said Mace in an interview with the Oxford Drinker magazine.

Mace, whose family has a 200-year history in the licensed trade, took over the Morris Clown in 1990. The pub, a Grade II listed stone building dating back to the 18th century, was originally purchased by Mace’s father, Thomas, in 1976. When the “Beer Orders” of 1989 required large breweries like Courage to dispose of many pubs, Mace purchased the property in 1998. It has since operated as a free house, serving only drinks and remaining open mostly in the evenings except on weekends.

Known for its murals painted by Mace’s first stepmother, which depict scenes of the Moulin Rouge in the style of Toulouse-Lautrec, the pub carries a unique and controversial title, ‘Morris Clown’. It is the only pub of its name in the UK, and despite Morris Dancing being popular in the local community, the pub has seen a boycott from local dancers due to the contentious name.

The Morris Clown’s offerings have included various real ales such as Butts Traditional, a beer from an organic brewery near Hungerford, Berkshire, and Marzen Boy, a golden seasonal ale from Abingdon brewery Loose Cannon.

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