Popular pubs receive £240,000 makeover

Star Pubs & Bars have jointly invested in the Blackie Boy and The Seven Stars, bringing about a major transformation

Fluid Group area manager Dave Walker at ASE in Newcastle

A £240,000 investment has helped transform two North East pubs.

Star Pubs & Bars, Heineken’s pub business, has worked with local pub operators to jointly fund major refurbishments at the Blackie Boy on Groat Market, Newcastle, and The Seven Stars in Ponteland, both of which re-open this month.

The venues, which have already enjoyed considerable success, believe the changes will add a new dimension for customers.

Run by entrepreneur Oliver Vaulkhard of Fluid Group, the Blackie Boy has undergone a complete overhaul, including the creation of a new late night venue on the first floor, rebranded as the All Seeing Eye (ASE).

Formerly a rarely used function room, the interior has been stripped back to expose brickwork, while the rafters have been opened up, with the aim of creating an “urban downtown New York vibe”.

Fluid Group area manager Dave Walker said: “The ASE is a cutting edge late night venue and part of the evolution of the Newcastle nightscape. Investment in the site has enabled us to create an amazing experience for customers that they won’t find anywhere else in Newcastle.

“We’re excited by the extensive menu of cocktails, wine and premium drinks, including Heineken Extra Cold and have installed the latest Heineken Smart Dispense technology. which guarantees exceptional quality beer and cider every time.”

The Seven Stars, run by Paul Gibb, meanwhile, is getting a new contemporary look, with the aim of bringing city centre style to the village of Ponteland.

The refurbishment will include a new bar and the reconfiguration of the downstairs to provide comfortable seating and a lounge area. Food and coffee offerings will also be extended.

Gibb said: “I came out of retirement in 2011 to take on the lease of the Seven Stars and save it from closure. I have succeeded in turning it around, but now, with the help of the Star Pubs & Bars, it is time to take The Seven Stars to another level to keep attracting customers.

“The pub was last refurbished in 1993, when I was the manager. By coincidence my name and telephone number were found by builders on the plaster when they dismantled the bar.”

Chris Jowsey, trading director at Star Pubs & Bars, added: “Although very different, both pubs are run by experienced operators with high standards and an understanding of what their customers want, which has made them successful.

“They both recognise the need to review, refine and continue to invest in their pubs to keep them current and attract customers in an increasingly competitive market.

“It is no longer enough to open the doors and expect customers to come to you - it is all about raising the bar, giving customers that bit extra and offering them the very best.


David Whetstone
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