Dan Shotton and Mark Draper of Prospect Pubs & Bars, former owners of Redcomb Pubs1 which was sold to Young’s Brewery last year, have taken on their second site, The Victoria in Woodham. 

The duo are undertaking a joint £580,000 refurbishment with Star Pubs & Bars, owners of The Victoria, which has been closed for 14 months, transforming it into a top-quality, family friendly village local, offering great food at affordable prices and exceptional service.

This latest venture follows on from the successful launch of their first pub under the Prospect Pubs & Bars banner, The Evenlode in Eynsham on the outskirts of Oxford.  The pair bought the freehold site for £1.75m in July 2019 and have since undertaken a sympathetic refurbishment, which included adding seven en-suite bedrooms to the property.

Says Mark: “Despite the current situation, our strategy remains to acquire three to five sites a year for the next five years, comprising of a mix of freehold, leased and tenanted sites, and it’s great to finally be able to get these wheels back in motion.  Our ambition is to create a group of successful and profitable pubs and pubs with rooms that are accessible to all, with a well-positioned premium offering. 

“The Victoria, like The Evenlode, is ideally located to attract both a local audience as well as those travelling through the area for business or for pleasure.”

Prospect Pubs & Bars plans for The Victoria are to create a standout family friendly village pub offering outstanding service and great quality, affordable food and drink using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.

The investment will see a 120-cover restaurant and bar created that meets Covid-19 safety requirements, and outside there will be seating for 160 on the pub’s terrace and in the child-friendly garden, plus parking for 40 cars.

The interior is being completely stripped back to showcase some of the pub’s original features like its fireplaces and wooden floors.  Design touches like a rustic timber clad feature wall, wall planting, distressed tile effect ceiling and upcycled traditional furniture and will create a warm, homely atmosphere.

Outside, new bifold doors will lead to a paved terrace where a mix of retro metal and timber furniture, festoon lighting and bunting will add to the atmosphere.  The garden area will have picnic benches and timber play equipment to keep young children entertained.

The Victoria will open for barista style coffees, speciality teas, cakes and pastries from 11am serving food every day from 12-3 and 5-9.30pm.

The menu will include affordable pub classics and more ‘gastro’ dining options and an extended grill section. The focus will be on quality meats and sustainable fish, farm-fresh vegetables and indulgent puds, as well as vegan options. 

The drinks offer will include local and well-known beers and ales, alongside premium international beers and ciders, premium sprits including local gins, a wide selection of wines from lesser known grapes and vineyards and an interesting and eclectic array of low and no alcoholic options.

Mark adds: “We follow the same simple philosophy for every site we are involved with, and that is to create authentic, timeless, quality pubs that are as well-known for their friendly welcome and independent spirit as they are for their fine food and drink at fair prices. Covid has delayed our plans but not dampened our enthusiasm to take on The Victoria.  We’re now on schedule to reopen the pub early-November.”

Dugald Macer, Star Pubs & Bars Regional Operations Director said: “This investment will take The Victoria to a new level and ensure it stands out from other pubs in the area. Mark and Dan are very experienced pub operators with a proven track record of running successful pubs.  They will do wonders for The Victoria and give the local community a great place to meet up after these difficult times.”

Alongside The Victoria, Prospect Pubs & Bars also confirm two further properties are in the pipeline, both forecast to open in 2021.

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