A COCKTAIL bar in Oxford is to be turned into a large chain pub.

Stonegate Pubs, which owns the Living Room at Oxford Castle Quarter, closed the venue today.

The premises will undergo a £226,000 renovation and become a Slug and Lettuce pub.

A spokeswoman said it would reopen on May 23 with a VIP reception.

Staff members were reported to have been notified of the change about two weeks ago.

Only one person, barman Claudino Silva, is staying on.

The 33-year-old, from Wantage, said: “At first they said we would just close, but then they said we were going to change instead.

“I will be sad to see the Living Room go, it was like a big family here and we had lots of regular customers who have said they may not come back again now.

“But I have never worked for the new company, and I like the building.”

He added: “I’ve been here for four years now, so I decided to stay when they offered me a promotion.

“I think we will attract a new type of customer now.”