The author had a chat with the new owner of the pub building in Market Street, Tunstead; Gilly Foulds. Gilly is a village resident, and has a strong affinity and loyalty towards the village and its people. She is an energetic woman with strong ideas of how to develop the pub site. She is extremely enthusiastic and one can’t help but be drawn into her vision. I hope to put some of that vision into words.
Gilly remembers the “Horse and Groom”. She wishes to return the building back to a village pub. Taking the best bits, and adding elements based upon her view on what a village pub should be. “It will be a pub for the village; the hub of day to day village life where people can meet with friends, drink and eat wholesome good value pub food, and perhaps help organise day time and evening activities”, she said.
In order to make it a pub for the village, Gilly is very keen to listen to suggestions on what would make it their pub. Some things she has in mind is having a walker and dog-friendly bar with a separate area for eating and social drinking. Also, a child-friendly area, where children and adults can play table games.
The pub will be a free-house, so that she can present guest beers, real ale and a selection of keg beers, cider and lagers. One idea is a waiting list of people’s favourite beers, ciders and lagers. There may even be a Gilly’s Gin Corner, where a selection of modern-style gin would be served. To add to the ambiance, villagers are asked to rummage through their stocks of old photos, so copies can be hung on the walls of the bar. This will give contemporary visitors a sense of time and place.
The primary idea on the internal elements of the pub will be to move the bar back to its old position and improve the flow from the kitchen, which is hampered by the bar in its current position. To provide pub food that appeals, Gilly would like to know the price points which people would be prepared to pay. This will give her a measure on how to establish good value for money. She feels this is important, so that customers are not put off by the price. A village pub should serve appealing village food, using village-provided ingredients, at realistic prices.
Gilly’s vision is focused on the village pub. There will not be any B&B facilities. The flat above the pub would be available to the manager of the pub. This approach is very contemporary, as housing costs and travel can, at times, be a pinch point for prospective employees. Besides, having a resident manager is useful for security. Gilly hopes to employ as many local people as possible. She will need a manager, bar staff, cooks, waiting staff, and cleaners.
The site has a small cottage attached. Gilly would like to find someone who would run this as a café, village shop or perhaps an artisan bakery, so that people in the village can get their daily essentials locally.
Finally, for this article, the new owner of the Horse and Groom proposes to host a bottle bank. It can be filled with bottles from village. Any surplus money from the recycling can be put back into the village kitty.
When I look back at this list, there is a lot of work ahead of Gilly and her crew, but she is quite determined to have things ready for a May opening. With her energy and enthusiasm, I am convinced that her ambition of having a pub for the village will come to fruition. Good Luck Gilly.