13 Apr 2015 Category: News
Perhaps you already run a country pub that could do with a bit of sprucing up, or maybe you’ve always harboured dreams of the perfect rural watering hole. If you’ve got the money, now is an excellent time to take action: the global economic crisis has impacted heavily on rural communities.
If you’re already a publican, the right refurb could have a magical effect on your turnover, and if you’re looking to take over an existing business you’re now likely to be able to get one for a song.
A note of caution, though: when you approach the refurbishment, be careful you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Many people love country pubs for their traditional character, and if they wanted to always drink and eat in slick metropolitan surroundings, they’d go into town.
Here’s a quick guide to designing your ideal rural watering hole while still maintaining the character of the interior.
One of the first things to do before you get started is establish which – if any – of your pub’s interior features are original. You may be lucky enough to have surviving highlights such as traditional oak ceiling beams or a ceramic tiled floor from Stoke on Trent, and if so you should base the rest of your decorating plans around showcasing them.
If they’ve long since been stripped out, no problem: consult local history books for snapshots of similar interiors over time, and track down replacements in architectural salvage yards.
Ironically, this is one area where grime and neglect can be your friend. The more dilapidated the interior when you start your refurbishment, the more likely you are to find original features in good condition under layers of dirt. So approach your preliminary clean-up as you would an archaeological dig and proceed with caution.
Roaring log fires and squishy sofas are features we all associate with the comfort of country pubs, so don’t be too seduced by the siren song of minimalism.
Traditional stools at the bar and the kind of furniture you’d expect to find in your own home strike a welcoming note, and can be surprisingly cost-effective to source.
Lighting is another key component of a cosy ambience. LED lights are cheap to run and available in a number of shades from cool (for the toilets) to warm (for the saloon bar). Nowadays they even come in a dimmable version.
Don’t forget that the kinds of drinks you offer contribute something to the ambience, too. A selection of real ales is likely to be a big draw now that beer culture’s on the up, especially if they come from local breweries. Although wine is not strictly traditional, it makes good business sense to stock a decent range to cater for those whose tastes runs to the grape rather than the grain.
Prince Charles probably isn’t the only one who’d like to see the pub reinstated as the hub of rural life. Refurbish your establishment in the right way and you can do your bit to make this happen.
Make room for traditional pub games such as skittles, backgammon and shove ha’penny, and not only will the traditional atmosphere be enhanced, but you may even start to build a thriving community of regulars: what could be more traditional than that?
It’s an ill wind: the global economic crisis has created an excellent environment for anybody who wants to refurbish a country pub, be it as a new venture or to revitalise the turnover of an existing business.
But in the heat of the moment it can be all too easy to sacrifice traditional charm on the altar of high design. However, if you use great tradesmen and contractors, build your plans around the original features of the building and try to create an air of cosiness and comfort, you’ll be well placed to capture all the traditional charms of the best country pubs.
For more design advice, or if you would like help to re-fit your own country pub, get in touch with us today by calling 01280 821 282 or contact us online.