Star Pubs & Bars to invest £2.4m in outside areas

Hazeldene Gretna Green

Star Pubs & Bars has allocated £2.4m of its proposed £20m investment budget for 2016 into improving the external areas at 100 of its sites.

Outside eating and drinking areas will be developed at 25 pubs and bars to increase their capacity and covers. A further 75 venues will benefit from new signage and external decorations to enhance their kerb appeal.

Where possible, work will be scheduled for completion before the peak summer trading months and, for pubs with a reputation for sport, in time for Euro 2016 in June.

All weather solutions will be incorporated into many of the schemes which will also extend their use into the colder months. These will include heaters and retractable covers and sides for seated areas.

Where appropriate, creatively designed pods and sheds will be installed to cater for smaller groups of customers and give the venues a point of difference from their competition.

Licensees will be making corresponding internal improvements. These will range from premiumising their drinks and changing their menus through to redecorating or adding a new coffee offering.

Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars managing director, said: “These projects will meet customer demand for alfresco dining and boost pubs’ capacity for a relatively low spend. The outside of a pub is its shop window and if it looks great it will attract passing trade.”

A £40,000 investment in the outside area at the Hazeldene (pictured) in Gretna Green in the south of Scotland is typical of Star’s approach. Part of a £220,000 refurbishment of the pub and hotel, it adds a 40-cover deck, accessible through French doors from the pub’s dining area, helping to double the venue’s trading space.

A retractable canopy and temporary sides can be erected to protect the deck during cold and rainy weather. The extra capacity will also allow the licensees to grow their function and wedding business.

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