The Castle

A 'warts & all' account of the transformation of a run-down pub in Bradford-On-Avon into a 'proper' Inn (food pub with rooms). Written by Alex Reilley & Pierre Woodford

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pierre's in

Middle of next week & Pierre calls - he's in. Suddenly we have a plan. We'll set up a new company comprising of Loungers, Lee & Pierre. Lee's going to raise some money by re-mortgaging his house & Pierre & Nicola are going to sell their London flat, use some of the money from the sale to invest & move over. Pierre's going to run the place - it's going to be his baby.

In the meantime we test the waters with a couple of business parnters on another project we've involved with in Bristol, Goldbrick House. They both show initial interest but they want too much for too little. We decide against it, & agree that we've got enough in the pot, about £140k, & that we'll borrow some dosh from the bank. Fag packet estimates come in at around £240k for the lot, although we could always get the pub up & running first & then tackle the rooms at a later date if money was short.

We discuss concept. We decide that BOA needs a pub that serves decent food, served all day, coupled with a mature drinking environment. We want to appeal to Bradford's residents & we also want to keep it reasonable. We'll have informal food offerings, a damn good homemade burger for instance, & a few 'proper' restaurant style dishes. This is roughly what our bars in Bristol provide, although we see scope to offer a bit more on the food side & to offer more wines & real ales. The general feeling, when we ask around, is that there's no where to go for a good meal without having to spend £30 a head. A 'less is more' approach seems sensible.

With the rooms we see a boutique approach - big beds, opulent furnishings, dirty great big showers. However we've never done rooms before & don't know the first thing about the legislation. Everyone we speak to mutters something about "Above 3 rooms & the legislationon gets more complicated". We've got 4 possibly 5, so complicated it is.


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