New life is being breathed into a Kilsby pub after years of uncertainty about its future.
Work is set to start on a £330,000 refurbishment at The George Hotel this month.
The project by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and new licensee Hari Shankarkrishnamurthy is scheduled to open in early July, creating at least 15 new jobs.
Hari said: “I’ve worked in hospitality for many years; it’s a dream come true to be taking on such a lovely old pub. I looked at hundreds of pubs before seeing The George Hotel.
"I knew it was ‘the one’ as soon as I walked in. It’s tired now but will look stunning once the work is completed.
"The investment is just what’s needed to bring it back to life. Residents have been desperate for The George Hotel to reopen and very supportive of the plans.
"I want to make The George Hotel an asset to the village and a pub they can be proud of once again.”
The makeover will restore and redecorate the outside of the landmark pub, renovating its distinctive Elizabethan-style mullioned windows, gables and imposing chimneys and enhancing the entrance to Kilsby. It will also revamp the overgrown garden, adding a new patio, planting and furniture to create a sheltered alfresco drinking and dining area.
The inside work will completely upgrade the pub throughout, whilst retaining its character and original features, such as wood paneling, parquet flooring and fireplaces. A traditional but stylish redesign will open up the interior, moving the bar and turning a disused function room into additional dining space that can be reserved for private functions.
Hari – a chef with Michelin 3-star restaurant experience who has worked in hotels around the world – plans to make food a focal point of The George Hotel.
Dishes will be freshly made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible, and the menu will feature English cuisine as well as food with Mediterranean and South Asian influences. Homemade pizzas - stone-baked on the premises - and Sunday roasts will be other specialties.
Hari wants to put The George on the map for its drink, too, and will serve a wide selection of premium beers, wines and spirits including cocktails. He will overhaul the cellar and install state-of-the-art dispense equipment.
The George Hotel is named after King George III who signed the Act of Parliament approving the construction of the 18th Century turnpike road from Daventry to Lutterworth on which the pub is situated. Whilst the pub is thought to date back to the 1800s, it is believed there may have been a coaching inn on the site since the 1600s.
Hari is keen to celebrate The George Hotel’s history and to hear from anyone who knows more about its past.
Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager Nathan Darby: “We’re delighted to be breaking ground on the refurbishment of The George Hotel. Our plans were delayed by the pandemic, and we’ll be working flat out to reopen the doors as soon as possible.
"We’re confident the new-look pub will be worth the wait, and thank the village for their patience.”