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£500k upgrade for Newbury town centre pub

Work begins to give The Dolphin a makeover

£500k upgrade for Newbury town centre pub

WORK on a £500,000 project to refurbish a Newbury town centre pub started this week. 

The Dolphin, in Bartholomew Street, has been closed since May 2017, but is scheduled to reopen in April.

The joint venture is being undertaken by Heineken’s pub business Star Pubs & Bars and Buff & Bear Saloons, run by ex-Geronimo Inns managing director Ed Turner (pictured), his wife Buffy and their partner Shane O’Neill.

The funds are being spent preserving and transforming the listed building to feature a retro public bar, saloon, snug, pantry, and dining room seating up to 40. 

The garden will also seat up to 50, parking will be included and up to 20 new jobs will be created when the pub reopens.

Mr Turner said: “We’ve long wanted to open in Newbury as we live close by and The Dolphin is perfect for our style of a very homely pub that is all about having a great time, whether eating, drinking, staying over or holding an event.

“Our design will showcase the beautiful building and is a personal reflection of our enjoyment of life. 

“The whole point of The Dolphin is for people to be relaxed, as if they were coming to our house, hence they then need to have fun, try new things and, above all, to enjoy the company of others and to eat and drink heartily. We are passionate about local sourcing, so that will play an important part at The Dolphin. 

“There will be locally-sourced ingredients used for our dishes, as well as local ales and coffee.”

The pub will also have five bedrooms, with room number one having its own record player and vinyl collection.

Passers-by can also glance at the glass-fronted cellar, showing the latest state-of-the-art Smartdispense cellar system, which showcases the skills of a cellar manager.

Suppliers include West Berks Renegade, Isle of Wight’s Tomato Seller, Honesty Bakery, West Berks Brewery and Chalk Stream Foods. 

Star Pubs & Bars operations and sales director Tim Galligan said: “Ed and Buffy have a great eye for design, a love of local craft, an understanding of what people want and are relentless in their pursuit of excellent customer service.

“We’re delighted to be co-investing with them on a second project, helping to create a stunning and unique pub for Newbury, which offers the conviviality of an old-fashioned coaching inn, with 21st-century comfort and style.

“Great pubs like The Dolphin need ongoing investment to flourish in the long-term.”

The team will host a series of quizzes, drawing classes, food and drink classes and the occasional sporting event, once it opens. 

Opening hours at The Dolphin will be from 10am to 11pm weekdays and from 9am until midnight at weekends.

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Article comments

  • NewburyNed

    31/01/2018 - 16:04

    I've had some good times in there but the only redeeming feature was the live music. The place was filthy, scruffy and the staff dreadful. I never dared try the food. This pub has been wasted and misused for years, by numerous landlords. Very good news to see it being taken over by someone who seems to actually care about it - good luck to the new owners!


  • Whitters50

    08/01/2018 - 09:09

    This sounds brilliant. I am hoping by "Retro" that the refurb will maybe take the pub back in time to resemble when I lived there 1973-1986 when it was a "proper" pub. I will definitely be visiting when it opens in April.


    • Tommy

      09/01/2018 - 10:10

      I doubt it will include Retro things such as Darts, Bar Billiards & Dominoes !!!


  • danny2300

    06/01/2018 - 12:12

    Horrible little crap hole. Have been asked on two occasions whilst it was open to leave the premises, as myself and my guests are not regulars.


    • NewburyNed

      31/01/2018 - 16:04

      That's a perfect description. Hopefully that will change now!


    • Bombey

      06/01/2018 - 15:03

      thanks for sharing that with the group.


      • danny2300

        06/01/2018 - 20:08

        No problem :)