The Coach and Horses, in Priestpopple, Hexham, has reopened following a transformational £700,000 investment. Owned by the UK’s leading community pub company, Admiral Taverns, The Coach and Horses has received the company’s biggest investment in Admiral’s history to date, in partnership with Northumberland County Council and Historic England. This phenomenal, combined investment has breathed a new lease of life into the pub, enabling an extensive interior and exterior refurbishment.
Alongside Admiral Taverns’ and the licensee’s – Fiona Beck – total investment of £460,000 the pub was awarded £240,000 by Northumberland County Council and Historic England through the Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme (HSHAZ). The aim of the scheme is to revitalise the town’s historic centre making it a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work, invest and visit.
Licensee, Fiona Beck is a passionate operator with 30-years of experience in the hospitality industry, both working in and running pubs. Around six and a half years ago, Fiona took on her first pub with Admiral Taverns, The County Hotel in Hexham and has created a sophisticated, destination pub and hotel for locals and tourists to enjoy. Following her success, she is keen to create somewhere that perfectly compliments The County Hotel and to foster a friendly local where everyone feels welcome and fantastic service is a given.
Fiona Beck, Licensee at The Coach and Horses, said: “I have loved every minute of running The County Hotel with Admiral Taverns so when the opportunity to take over The Coach and Horses came up, I couldn’t refuse it! It had always been my dream to become my own boss and run my own pub so the fact I now run two incredible Hexham pubs is fantastic. I am so excited to re-establish its presence within the area and showcase its refreshed look to new and existing customers.”
The Coach and Horses is a traditional 18th Century coaching Inn full of character which Fiona has worked hard to maintain throughout the refurbishment. As well as maintaining its character, Fiona was also keen to revitalise the look and feel of the pub to make it more modern and contemporary. Originally, the pub was set out across two separate buildings, so the main feature of the refurbishment has been to connect the two areas allowing the space to operate more efficiently and make it more customer friendly. The corridor has been designed like a conservatory and acts as a transitional space between the two areas of the pub – the bar and the lounge.
The bar offers a lively, vibrant atmosphere and features state-of-the-art televisions with Sky Sports, a darts board, the bar and brand-new benches, large dining tables and chairs. The lounge is a quieter, more relaxing space focused on dining where friends and families and can enjoy a cosy meal. Throughout, the Coach and Horses has been decorated using bright, jewel colours, abstract floral wallpapers and modern light fixtures to give the pub a classical yet contemporary charm.
Upstairs, the pub also boasts six newly decorated bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms.
The Coach and Horses will offer a simple but delicious food menu, designed for ‘grazing’ so that friends and families can share, to add to that sense of community. The food offering will consist of small plates including garlic and lemon prawns, as well as loaded fries and pizzas, created using the brand-new pizza oven. There will also be a selection of traditional pub dishes on offer such as fish and chips and buttermilk chicken burgers. All items on the menu will be available to order with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free substitutes.
Additionally, the pub will offer customers a carefully curated drinks menu. In particular, The Coach and Horses plans to specialise in cask ales to meet the demands of the local beer lovers. It will also host a good selection of draught lagers and ciders including Fosters, Staropramen, Neck Oil and Strongbow as well as a wide array of spirits and wines.
Admiral Taverns’ Business Development Manager, Stephen Birkett, commented: “We are absolutely delighted with the refurbishment of The Coach and Horses. It looks fantastic! It’s been a pleasure working alongside Northumberland County Council and Historic England and supporting Fiona to bring her vision come to life. I have no doubt that she is the perfect licensee to take the pub forward, a cornerstone of her community and she has really bought people together. We wish her the best of luck and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this brilliant local pub.”
Jules Brown, from Historic England, said: “Grants are available to help renovate and restore some key historic buildings, which help to give Hexham such a strong sense of place and character. It’s great to see the funding being used to bring buildings like The Coach and Horses back to life, so they can be used and enjoyed by local people and visitors alike.”
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