Village pub near Peterborough’s stunning new look after £150,000 refurbishment
What started out as a lick of paint for an old country pub turned into a £150,000 refurbishment at Woodnewton’s White Swan.
But the huge investment and far-reaching works inside and out is just another tall-tale sign that things are on the up at the centuries old gastropub.
Together with the striking new look, which is in keeping with the history of the building, there are new menus and new team members as things go from strength to strength,
Will and Jason Abbott-Hannah celebrate five years in the place in September and things had been going along nicely when lockdown kicked in 15 months ago.
“Because we had bought the freehold, the financial pressures on us were less,” said Will. “But pretty much straight away we switched to a takeaway with a whole new online system and the response was amazing.
“There were only four of us then but we did 22,500 takeaways from our little country pub, delivering to all the surrounding villages and nearby Oundle.”
The upshot of that was that when the pub re-opened a whole new clientele had been found.
“It was incredible that when we re-opened the restaurant side of things a lot of the customers coming in were new, people who had discovered us by ordering a takeaway. We had like 3,000 new customers on the database.”
And they clearly liked what was on offer, with Will describing the past few weeks as “absolutely crazy, we have had a six-fold increase in business”.
And while all this has been going on the duo running the business decided to smarten things up a little.
“It was supposed to involve painting the ceiling or something like that,” said Will, “but it turned into a £150,000 full refurbishment, bearing it mind it is 230 years-old so there are limits to what you can do.
“It is contemporary but stays loyal to the building, all Farrow and Ball with brown leather. I think it reflects us now.”
Indoors, the cellar has been improved, kitchen extended, there is new furniture as well as replacement windows and doors. Meanwhile outside the terraces have been improved and additional furniture bought to create 120 alfresco covers, adding to the 50 inside.
And that has meant trebling the size of the team, with table service the requisite at the moment.
Will described the White Swan as a gastropub with “great quality casual food” but that they were always looking at ways of keeping up with trends and demands.
In April, with customers only allowed outside, they introduced tapas. And it went down so well it is now a permanent fixture on the menu.
“When we are allowed we like to travel and there are things on the menu which are perhaps influenced by things we have eaten or drank on our travels,” Will added.
“You have got to keep looking to offer something for everyone, you can’t stand still in hospitality.
“One thing we have noticed in the last few months with all the new customers coming in is that the age profile has come down. We still have our existing older drinkers and diners, but we have started to attract a lot more people in for cocktails on a Wednesday night, for instance.”
No surprise with more than 60 gins to choose from.