One of the town’s popular pubs, the King’s Arms in Church Street, closed this week for a “Major Refurbishment”.

The Grade II Listed building is undergoing work incorporating new floors, decoration, lighting and furniture to create a “new community pub for Whitchurch”.

Both bars are being stripped out to provide comfortable surroundings, where there will be cask beers, wines, teas and coffees and “an exciting new food menu”.

The rear bar will continue to have a pool table, and live sport will be shown on large screen. Other parts of the pub will be made comfortable for taking meals, and relaxed enjoyment and socialising.

The King’s Arms has had a chequered history over recent years but holds many memories for Whitchurch residents, from trout suppers, to music events. It has also raised considerable sums for charities through various events. When news of changes were heard, local people organised a petition for it to remain a ‘pub’. Hopefully the present works which keep both a public and a lounge bar will respect the feelings towards these activities.

The news of the refurbishment is much welcomed. The local Campaign for Real Ale is enthused about the pub’s importance being recognised and that it will be an outlet for traditional cask ales. With around 18 pubs a week closing, the trade is having to adapt and to see investment is encouraging. But CAMRA says the King’s Arms attraction as a community pub and catering for its local customers is its most important asset and should not be lost.

Planned re-opening date is 20th September.

The owners are presently advertising for staff.
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Background to the King’s Arms:

The King’s Arms is a historic pub in the town, believed to date from the 1700’s but with an 18th century frontage. It is a Grade II Listed Building which means structural alterations cannot be made without planning permission, and it is also within the Conservation Area.

It has gone through several ownerships with Ushers of Trowbridge being the last actual brewery to have owned it. Some people may still remember when taxi’s were run from the pub, while others recall a quirk of the pub sign that spelt Dieu on one side, and Deiu on the other.

The refurbished pub will be now under the new brand of Red Oak Taverns which was set up by two former associates of multi-millionnaire entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz. They bought 32 pubs from the Iranian property tycoon’s pub empire.
The trade paper Morning Advertiser reported they were joined in the investment by Jeremy Blood who was executive chairman of national drinks distributor Waverley TBS before it collapsed last year with debts of around £65million and a loss of nearly 800 jobs.

Hopefully having been refurbished, the King’s Arms won’t suffer a similar fate and will become a thriving hostellery in the town adding further choice for local residents and visitors.

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