PICTURED: St Albans pub undergoes paint job and outdoor refurb
- Credit: Sophie Cooper - Hare & Hounds
The Hare & Hounds, in St Albans, has undergone a re-painting and refurbishment of the venue's outdoor areas in recent weeks.
The outdoor refurbishments and paint job have been completed in time for this weekend's "Grand Opening" (starting today, June 4), which will coincide with celebrations for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Prior to completion of the works, the pub's manager Sophie Cooper spoke to The Herts Advertiser about the work being done, and future plans for the venue.
Excitement around the works:
When asked whether herself and the team were excited about the paint job and outdoor refurbishment, Sophie explained how the work was meant to have been completed two years ago, before being delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “We’re super excited!
“We’ve been waiting for it for about two years now.
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“We were supposed to have it done just before Covid, and then Covid happened so we haven’t been able to do it.
“So, when they said ‘that’s fine we can go ahead’ we didn’t really argue about it, we just said ‘yeah, it doesn’t matter when you start, just start!’.
“We wanted it done for the summer.
“We’ve got this massive garden, it could potentially be one of the nicest pub gardens in St Albans.
“It’s always in the sun as well.
“It’s got great potential so it would be nice to have it done.
“It’s all a bit tatty at the moment, obviously the previous owner left and everything was left derelict, so yeah it will be nice."
Pub takeover and emerging from Covid:
Just prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the pub underwent a takeover.
The venue is now owned by Jamie West, the same owner of the Rose & Crown in Sandridge.
On the takeover, and battling the effects of a global pandemic, Sophie continued: “(The takeover happened) Just before Covid, during 2019, so we haven’t been very lucky so far really!
"It’s a lot better than it was, but it’s still up and down.
“It’s very quiet during the week, it’s just all a bit weird, it hasn’t gone back to normal.
“I don’t think it has for anybody, to be fair."
The idea behind the work being done:
Commenting on the idea behind the work, which has now been completed, Sophie explained how the pub has a lot of potential which hasn't yet been realised.
She said: “It was from the beginning that we wanted to have that done, because it’s such a big garden and has so much potential.
“We have so much land, we want to make the most of it.
“I’m hoping (it has an impact on trade).”
Regarding the future of the establishment, the manager described how the pub is a listed building, so little work can be completed on the interior.
This detailed hasn't stopped Sophie and her team being creative though, as she outlined their plans for new ways to keep the venue feeling fresh and inventive.
Sophie added: “We’re quite limited with what we can do inside.
“It will literally just be a lick of paint, because it’s a listed building so we can’t do a huge amount of work in it.
“So, not really sadly (doing much else), because it could do with some more help.
“It being an old building, everything’s falling apart.
“With the garden being done, we’re going to introduce the BBQ’s again.
“We’re hopefully going to have a Gin bar outside and lots of lights!
“It will be a slow progress, once the garden is done I think we will be able to add to it as we go along.
“But we need to recover from refurbishing the garden first."