The Blue Bell in Corbridge reopens after £125,000 refit

'Clear vision' for traditional British pub depends upon listening to the views of locals, says publican Paul Whittle

The Blue Bell in Corbridge, which has been given a £125,000 refit
The Blue Bell in Corbridge, which has been given a £125,000 refit

The Blue Bell pub in Corbridge has reopened to the public after a £125,000 refit.

The refurbishment – funded in partnership with Punch Taverns, the owners of the premises – has included the introduction of bright new signage, as well as new flooring and furniture, although a traditional feel has been retained.

Local businesses and regulars were given a preview of the changes at an invitation-only launch night before the pub reopened to all with a special event featuring live music from Anna Reay, a vocalist from Newcastle.

Staff and regulars at The Blue Bell in Corbridge have celebrated the pub's reopening after a £125,000 refit
Staff and regulars at The Blue Bell in Corbridge have celebrated the pub's reopening after a £125,000 refit

For the past seven months, The Blue Bell has been run by Paul Whittle, alongside his partner Sarah.

A highly experienced publican, Mr Whittle has run pubs, bars and nightclubs both in the UK and abroad.

For two years, he had worked with Punch Taverns as a consultant, helping turn around under-performing pubs - until he fell in love with Corbridge and decided to take over The Blue Bell himself.

“I’ve got a really clear vision for The Blue Bell,” Mr Whittle said.

Paul Whittle, who runs The Blue Bell in Corbridge with his partner Sarah
Paul Whittle, who runs The Blue Bell in Corbridge with his partner Sarah

“It needs to be a traditional British pub – the place to go for drinks with your family and kids, and even the dog.

“I love seeing people having fun on a good night out – so I’m going to make The Blue Bell a fun, informal place and I will always listen to my locals.”

The pair are hoping to cater to both locals and tourists, offering a range of cask ales, traditional ciders, food served from noon until midnight and barbecues in the garden at the rear of the premises.

The Blue Bell also features big screen sports on six televisions via a new HDTV system, and a newly installed video jukebox with a playlist of 8.5m songs.

The interior of the recently refurbished Blue Bell pub in Corbridge
The interior of the recently refurbished Blue Bell pub in Corbridge

Karaoke and live music will likewise be held regularly and a darts team will be launched.

The pool team, meanwhile, will benefit from a new eight-foot, competition-standard table.

Punch Taverns new business development manager Caroline Edwards said: “Paul has a real passion for this pub and he’s making the most of the investment and support he can access through Punch Taverns.

“The Blue Bell is going to be a great local, at the heart of a beautiful small market town, and we wish Paul and Sarah every success with their business.”

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