IT’S BEEN closed for more than a year, but with the regeneration of Wokingham continuing, new owners are seeing a bright future for a town centre pub.
Reopening next month, following a £350,000 refurbishment, the new-look Raglan will create up to 15 jobs.
The Denmark Street venue has been taken on by Big Smoke Brew Co, and will see its name change back to the original The Lord Raglan. Owners are promising that it will be a modern pub, but with traditional touches.
And there will be team-ups with local breweries, including Siren Craft Brew and Elusive Breweries, which are both based in Finchampstead.
The company has pubs in Chichester, Weybridge, Surbiton and Kingston.
At The Antelope, it has 10 real ales, five real ciders and 14 keg beers on tap.
And its menu includes burgers, ribs, salads and small plates aimed at sharing. These include vegan dishes such as crispy fried courgettes with picorino and pardron peppers.
Desserts include homemade Oreo doughnuts with a toffee sauce.
Rich Craig, who launched Big Smoke Brew Co with his business partner James Morgan in 2014, said that Wokingham was the ideal place for the new venture with its vibrant restaurant and bar culture.
He said: “We really like the town and we think it’s got a great feel. It’s got the right demographic for us and we feel we can bring something a little bit new and different to the area.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in the area especially with the redevelopment that’s going on in the town centre. It’s a great time to move to the town.”
Mr Craig, who is originally from New Zealand, said The Lord Raglan will offer people “a modern pub in a fairly traditional setting” and will focus on offering artisan products from the local area and further afield.
“We’re already planning to partner with local breweries Siren and Elusive, which are based in Finchampstead, and also Double-Barrelled who are in Reading,” he continued.
“And we’re always looking to strike up new relationships. We’d love to collaborate with people from across the area who are producing something unique, and not just beer.”
Big Smoke Brew Co said it had undergone a period of rapid growth, especially in the past 18 months.
The company now operates four other pubs, together with its own brewery and gin distillery.
“Pubs are about community and it’s one thing that we’re very mindful of,” Mr Craig said.
“We want to find out what makes the area tick and become a part of it.”
The Lord Raglan became a pub in 1838 and the name was first recorded in 1859 after the Crimean War. Lord Raglan, a renowned cavalry commander, is also credited with inventing the Raglan sleeve – a loose style of jumper.
The listed building is currently shrouded in scaffolding while changes are made to the exterior signage.
The exact opening date will be released over the coming weeks, but is expected to open mid-March.