Case Study: Allison and Hannah Mitchell, The Dreel Tavern, Anstruthers

Allison and Hannah Mitchell, The Dreel Tavern, Anstruthers

The sisters had considerable management experience within the hospitality industry but hadn’t yet run their own business. “Being our first venture, the lease seemed like a sensible option. Ingoing costs were relatively low, there was a reasonable ‘get out clause’ and the extensive support offered by Star Pubs & Bars was a huge attraction. Factors such as Star paying for accountancy fees, till support and social media, a four-month rent free period and beer discounts together with all the training they’ve given us and staff has been invaluable.”

Although they had been working in Edinburgh, Hannah and Allison were brought up in nearby East Neuk and so had local knowledge. They saw the potential to increase trade on the back of Anstruther’s rising population and growing tourism. The Dreel Tavern had been closed for 18 months when Allison and Hannah took it on. Before it reopened in July, Star Pubs & Bars invested £65k bringing the pub up to scratch which included redecoration, the installation of new kitchen equipment, a new bar and seating and an overhaul of the garden.

Hannah and Allison also put their stamp on the pub. They transformed the old pool room into a new dining area and converted the conservatory into a meeting and function room.

“We spent a month upcycling doors and furniture including creating a new wall from old scaffolding planks.” Outside they planted a new herb garden, upcycled planters for the beer garden and added driftwood art and brightly coloured plants. The Dreel Tavern now has 15 employees. Allison and Hannah are doing what they planned, serving freshly cooked, locally sourced food at affordable prices alongside artisan coffees, craft beers and premium quality wines and beers. In the winter, they plan to introduce music nights, food pairing and themed events to tempt people to visit.

The local community is delighted to have the pub open again. “The positive feedback we’ve had has been overwhelming. We’re getting top ratings on TripAdvisor, Facebook and Google reviews.” Allison and Hannah have no regrets about taking on the Dreel Tavern. “We are really enjoying what we are doing. It almost doesn’t feel quite like work yet!”