Palmers Brewery has invested £400,000 in a major overhaul of three heritage pubs that all stand within a stone’s throw of each other in West Bay.
The Bridport Arms Hotel, The George Hotel and the West Bay are all important Grade II listed buildings in a conservation area.
Contractors have gutted the interior of the Bridport Arms Hotel ahead of embarking on a total redecoration and refurbishment scheme. Builders have created an archway from the bar to the breakfast room to open up the area and improve circulation round the pub. Authentic Portland stone flagstones will also be laid down to match the existing floors in the bar.
Ringland Construction of Sheffield have also knocked through the walls of The George Hotel into the terraced cottage at number 11 George Street. This has doubled the size of the restaurant on the ground floor, and created an extra letting bedroom upstairs.
As well as smartening up the pub with new floors and carpets throughout and installing a brand new bar and lounge in place of the old ‘sports bar’ themed room, they are building an extension to the existing beer garden to allow more punters to sit and gaze out towards the harbour with their pints.
The refit and refurb took just a month to complete, and The George Hotel re-opened last week (9 November 2010). Licensee Nikki Bligh, who has recently taken over the running of the pub with her father, said: ‘Everybody is saying what a huge improvement it has made. It looks a lot more upmarket, but I still feel like this is a traditional English pub.
‘The staff have been really excited and love the new look and feel of the bar and restaurant. We are all really chuffed that Palmers have made such an investment in the pub, while working hard to retain the traditional atmosphere loved by the people who live in the area.’
Ringland Construction have revamped several Palmers’ pubs in the past, starting in January with the Sea Trout Inn at Totnes, which underwent a 10-bedroom refit. Speaking about The George, site manager Mark Sabin said: ‘The final effect has really made people sit up and take notice. The George is smarter and much more stylish now.’
Downstairs at the West Bay, it’s business as usual, while upstairs a small army of plumbers, electricians and carpenters are installing new en-suite bathrooms for newly refurbished bedrooms, yanking radiators off the walls, re-wiring and ripping up floorboards. An old bathroom has been demolished to make way for a new courtyard and office.
Tim Woodrow, Palmers’ Tenanted Trade Director, said: ‘West Bay attracts visitors all year round and Palmers want to ensure that they get a warm welcome, great beer and good food in the best surroundings.
‘The money that the brewery is investing will help boost tourist numbers and contribute to local prosperity.”