Pub’s getting a £400k makeover

A major revamp of a pub at Hotwells that has been closed since February is now well under way. 

When complete it will create up to fifteen new jobs and see a “tired pub transformed into a top-quality neighbourhood local”.

The Rose of Denmark on Dowry Place is expected to open at the end of the month following a £405,000 investment between Star Inns (owned by Heineken) and Bristol businessman Sam Gregory, who operates a number of pubs in the city. 

 A feature of the pub will be a pop-up kitchen offering a three-monthly change of food style such as Korean, Mexican or burgers.  Morning coffee and baked goods will also be introduced. 

Plans for entertainment include regular live music, quiz nights and televised sports.  The exterior of the pub is being redecorated with new signage and lighting. There will also be an outside seating area for both dining and drinking. 

Sam Gregory, who is probably best known for running the Bank Hotel in John Street, City Centre, which gained national headlines for its lengthy list of bookings for roast lunches on Sundays, said: “It’s very important when we identify a pub, that we see potential in an area that is not being served. We don’t have a business model that’s based on replication. We  research the area and what the community wants. There’s no point in establishing a trendy wine bar if there is no interest. Avoiding the one-size-fits all approach means we’re better able to ride out turbulent times as we ensure the community support us.

 “The pub market is tough but in my experience, as long as you’re authentic and have a solid offering people will respond. we’ll have a look. 

“Hotwells has been crying out for adecent pub for a long time.

“The biggest challenge we face is recruitment. Hospitality isn’t seen as a profession in theUK and so doesn’t attract people, yet the role of pub manager is complex requiring lots ofskills. In France, Ireland, and Australia you need to do courses and get qualifications for career progression.

“Bristol has 800 kitchen staff vacancies. Residential rents are astronomical, so you have to pay a decent wage and ensure staff have a decent work/life balance. Our staff don’twork more than 48 hours, have one weekend off in four and get two days off together.”