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2 March 2020

Work is scheduled to begin on a major refurbishment of a Merseyside village’s only pub, bringing to an end residents’ concerns for its future.

The £650,000 revamp of The Hightown Hotel in Hightown gets under way on 2nd March and is being undertaken by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and the McLoughlin family – dad and mum, Patrick and Claire, and son and daughter, Thomas and Lauren. The investment will transform the tired local into a great quality pub serving outstanding food.

The Hightown will reopen in early May, creating 20 new jobs. Further phases of development are planned to add five ensuite boutique-style letting rooms as well as one of the UK’s only poitin distilleries.

Patrick – who comes from Derry – started his career in pubs in Liverpool 35 years ago at the now-closed Berni Inn in Pierhead. Says Patrick: “I left for London six years later but have wanted to return ever since. The Hightown is the perfect opportunity – it’s in need of TLC but the whole family fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. With no pub, restaurant or even a coffee shop in Hightown, villagers are crying out for a good local where they can come together. We want to bring The Hightown back to life and give the village a pub they can be proud of.”

The exterior of the 1800s pub will be restored and redecorated to make it an attractive feature of Hightown. The pub’s large garden will be revamped to create a stunning alfresco eating and drinking area with a new patio, seating for 114 and festoon lighting. Covers and heating will enable year-round use.

The inside of the pub will be completely refurbished and upgraded in a traditional style sympathetic to the building’s architecture. Open fires will add cosiness to the bars and there will be a comfortable lounge and dining area. A new kitchen will allow the McLoughlins to introduce great food, which will be cooked from scratch using fresh ingredients. The Hightown will serve food all day and cater for all occasions from breakfast and coffee for station users to light lunches and special occasion dinners. The family also promise one of the best Sunday lunches on Merseyside.

The McLoughlins want to put The Hightown on the map for its drinks, too. The project will overhaul the cellar and install state-of-the-art dispense system to ensure consistently excellent draft beer and cider. Cask Marque accreditation will be sought and craft, cask and local beers stocked. As the owner of a poitin distillery in Northern Ireland, Patrick will bring poitin in a host of flavours to Merseyside alongside an extensive choice of premium spirits.

Says Patrick: “Back in the 1980s, the Berni Inn was the only place in Liverpool serving cocktails. How times have been changed! The area now has some of the best pubs and bars in the country, and we’re excited to be able to add to the choice. We’ll be looking after villagers but hope to attract people from all over Merseyside to ensure The Hightown thrives again.”

Comments Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager, Phil McWilliam: “The Hightown has been run by temporary operators for a number of years. Since acquiring the pub in 2018 we’ve been keen to recruit long term licensees to invest in it with us and provide the commitment it needs – it’s great to see it in stable hands again. The McLoughlins have an excellent track record in hospitality and we’re delighted to be joining forces with them to broaden The Hightown’s appeal and give it a new lease of life. It’s a beautiful old building but in need of a new direction: with this investment and the McLoughlins at its helm, it should be an asset to Hightown once again.” Star Pubs & Bars acquired The Hightown Hotel from Punch Taverns in March 2018.