We can now reveal our refurbishment plan for the Offley.
In this case, we had great help from the Offley Arms steering group; they commissioned a survey which consulted with the village. Happily, the responses were all very consistent and straightforward. A great warm cosy, very traditional pub for all, to provide a place for the community to meet, enjoy a beer and relax. Alongside a simple – but good food offer with space for locals to host events, some private, some public.
The kind of pub we at the Brewery like most, so we had a good start point.
We also had, courtesy of Newcastle council, the old plans, the pre and post-1992 scheme, these show the evolution of our proposed design, one for pub geeks and historians.
The consensus we gleaned was that when the pub was in this form, it was at its best, it offered cosy snugs and was a pub with real atmosphere, a proper pub. We also established that the later modern refurbishment had not been well-received, it also seemed to come with poor management which deteriorated over time.
The design may appear at first glance modest, marginally re-orientated the bar, but in essence, the layout will be similar to in 1992. We are planning to restore the original layout and atmosphere as much as possible to reveal the beauty of the old inn; our focus is to return the pub to its traditional village roots.
However, the way the pub trades will need to be very different with a much broader village appeal to reflect the feedback we have had.
The core of the project is to reveal the ancient 17th century coaching inn. The old front rooms will be restored with fixed seating and both with open fires, let’s hope someone brings a lazy dog to complete the perfect snug.
The room to the right will be a club room, for informal gatherings without the need for 100% privacy. The space will reference Leycett Cricket Club who we are very proud to sponsor and hope they will be a part of the Offley Arms community.
The bar is the heart of the pub and sits re oreintated in the same space as before, close to the cellar. A short beer pipe runs makes a big difference to the quality of our beer – in this case, it will be excellent.
We have also allowed for a small adjacent room for regular TV sports results such as the rugby, free to view football, grand national and maybe even the boat race.
The Old Lantern will be restored and offer a dining space for Sunday lunch. Simple everyday pub food with the help of our local butchers Shepley’s, the classics done well. This space will also be available for village community events and the odd local bash. It’s close enough to the bar to have a pub atmosphere – but private enough if dad really must say a few words on his 70th birthday [and he really should..]
We also have a private dining room off the Lantern, a generous room for a big family lunch, or a more formal meeting. A great space for a book club maybe, even the knitting club and of course any community meeting which demands a little more privacy than the club room can offer.
Lastly, thanks to Don Colclough we have a modest beer terrace that overlooks the pool. The design of this is currently with our close neighbours, and if everyone is happy we will share that soon. The beer terrace was also on the community wish list, and could only have been provided thanks to Don, so it will be Don’s beer terrace.
The project is now underway with essential repair works after the great pot fire, much more than we had first thought. Once the shell is secure and we have resolved the electrics and plumbing then we will plan the fit out. We had hoped to be ready by September, but with the dreaded virus, our hope now is to be open for Christmas, any sooner will be a bonus.
The plans unveiled here will be of little surprise to those who attended the open day, they are practically unchanged from the proposal which we circulated. The feedback from everyone was positive and we are hence now confident to commit to this layout. Over the last few months we have seen how proud you are of The Offley, it is important, it’s been around as long as the village. It has a wonderful story with the fingerprints of many generations within its walls, a picture-postcard pub.