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11 April 2019

Work starts next week* on a £460,000 refurbishment of the Jolly Friar on Whitmore Way in Basildon by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. The investment ends local uncertainty about the pub’s future and will transform it into a great quality family-friendly local, complete with what is billed to be one of the best sports areas in Basildon. The project is expected to take seven weeks, with the pub scheduled to reopen in time for the Easter weekend.

New licensee Stephen Carey – who took over the Jolly Friar in October and has already made many improvements – will remain at the helm of the revamped pub. “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve had from residents since I started. There are a lot of families living in this part of Basildon, and they’re crying out for a good local that is welcoming to children. I want the Jolly Friar to be a community hub of which people can be proud. The plans are amazing and the results will be worth the wait – it will be unrecognisable when it reopens.”

The work to the outside will give the Jolly Friar a completely different appearance. As well as cladding the building, the refurbishment will add new signs and planting to make the pub an attractive landmark of the neighbourhood. The pub’s large garden will become a feature with a spacious terrace, new furniture and lighting.

The inside of the pub is set for a major makeover to make it comfortable, welcoming and contemporary. The project will install new toilets, refit the kitchen to enable the Jolly Friar to introduce more food and replace the old conservatory with an orangerie, which can also be booked for functions and celebrations. The games area will be upgraded with two new pool tables, darts boards and drop-down screens for displaying major games and events. With no coffee shop nearby, Stephen is putting in a coffee machine and will serve coffee all day alongside a new menu of pub favourites ranging from pies and steaks to burgers and curries.

Stephen plans to build the Jolly Friar’s reputation for great events and activities and will unveil Basildon’s new-look pub at Easter with a weekend of music and a Sunday Easter Egg hunt.

Comments Star Pub & Bars regional operations director Will Rice: “Stephen has made a fantastic start at reviving the Jolly Friar and giving it the TLC it needs. We’re delighted to have him on board and to be investing in the Jolly Friar to give it a new lease of life and help it thrive for the long term.”

* The pub closes and work starts on 25th February.