“With an old building like this there you can always find something to do, but I think we have struck the balance between giving people a proper country pub back and the costs involved, and everyone involved is very proud of what we have done,” he said of the pub that was closed by previous owners the Everards brewery almost 12 months ago and will reopen on July 8.
“We have taken out a lot of features which had been added in recent decades, exposing original stonework and wooden beams that had been hidden for years, and we have got some character back.
“We still have a few finishing touches before opening but you can see it is going to look awesome.”
Awesome doesn’t come cheap, but Paul, who bought the place at the turn of the year and has a construction industry background, felt it needed doing properly - even if it did go substantially over his initial £250,000 budget.
“We have stripped out the wiring and pipework, putting in new electrics and plumbing; we have ripped the kitchen apart and completely redone that. There’s not a lot we have not done.”
What has been created is a bar area – he is keen to keep The Millstone accessible as a pub for people in the village – as well as specific restaurant and private dining area.
“We will start with small plates and pub classics and will move things on from there,” pointed out Paul who wants the pub to also be seen as a destination for good food and drink. “It will be a nice, rounded menu from day one but the intention is to grow it.”
Even before entering, customers who have visited in the past will notice a difference. The building’s exterior stonework has been chemically cleaned and accesses improved with the car park also extended.
Paul is also especially pleased with the courtyard, which had been a bit of a mess.
“We ripped that up completely and relaid it so it is more user-friendly and it looks great,” he said.
“There is a lot more outdoor space now. The lower level of the courtyard will have pedestal tables near the outside bar and traditional seats nearer to the pub.
“On the top level we have a sharing table for 12 – a place for a family group or somewhere to sit and make new friends.
“Also on the first Monday of the month we will use it for food collections to support the local food kitchen,” he added.