Dolphin, Newbury benefits from £500k investment

Dolphin, Newbury benefits from £500k investment

Work has started on a major refurbishment of the The Dolphin in Bartholomew Street in Newbury which has been closed since May. Star Pubs & Bars and Buff & Bear Saloons, run by ex-Geronimo Inns MD Ed Turner, his wife Buffy and their partner Shane O’Neill, are investing over half million pounds restoring and upgrading the town centre inn, which will reopen in April, creating 20 jobs.

The funds are being spent preserving and transforming the listed building into a homely mix of pub, house and garden. Designed for informal socialising, dining, partying and overnighting as if staying at a friend’s house. The series of rooms at The Dolphin will feature a mix of furniture styles and decors creating a modern members club look and feel.  These include: A retro public bar, The Bartholemew Bar, with settle seating where people can enjoy bar snacks and a tankard of ale, or a martini. The lively Saloon, a mix of lounging and dining, and the centre of entertainment. The Snug, dedicated to chilled relaxation for regulars and overnight guests with fireside armchairs, card tables and a vintage game ‘Jeu de La Grenouille’ - similar to ‘Toad in the Hole’.  The Pantry, the breakfast room that transforms into a private room for meetings, dinners, cocktail making classes and wine and beer tastings. The light and airy modern Dining Room which seats up to forty. Large skylights, botanic themed upholstered seats, palm-tree lighting and doors opening onto the garden combine to link the inside with the garden.

The garden has dining tables, bookable garden huts, a pagoda and greenery to bring a bit of the country into the heart of Newbury, with seating for up to fifty. There is parking for overnight guests and those coming into Newbury from the surrounding areas. All the rooms can be hired out individually for a range of functions, be they meetings and workshops, lunches, dinners and breakfasts or just good old-fashioned shindigs. The team will be hosting a series of quizzes, drawing classes, food and drink classes and the occasional sporting event.

Upstairs, there will be five simple, bright and delightfully comfy bedrooms.  They will feature Feather and Black beds, rainfall showers, and flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi and boxes of Lego. Room number one has its own record player and vinyl collection.

The Dolphin will also feature a unique glass fronted visible cellar which can be seen from the street, showing the latest state-of-art Smartdispense cellar system which guarantees consistent great quality draught beers and ciders and showcases the skills of a cellar manager.

The drinks range has a strong artisan influence.  Headlining the draught beers are Heineken, Moretti, Lagunitas, West Berks Renegade and Wild Bibble, and local cask ales from SIBA members. Accompanying the extensive wine list from family wine merchant Davys Wine Merchants are 20 gins, craft bottled beers and a Bloody Mary and cocktail list.  A separate ‘Mindful drinking list’ includes mocktails, Turner Hardy and Co tomato juices and low and no alcohol beers. The artisan coffees are from Southampton roasters, Mozzo.

The menu includes fresh and healthy light meals such as dressed Dorset crab and avocado and Chalk stream trout with poached egg and bubble & squeak.  Mains include Calves liver & bacon, shorthorn cheeseburger, pickles, relis & fries and Lobster mac & cheese and rib eyes with béarnaise sauce from the grill.  At the weekend, there will be Bloody Mary brunches and fixed price Sunday lunches.  Suppliers include Isle of Wight’s Tomato Seller, Honesty bakery, West Berks Brewery and Chalk Stream Foods. Prices start from £5 at lunch and £9 for dinner.

Ed Turner of Buff & Bear said: “We’ve long wanted to open in Newbury as we live close by and the Dolphin is perfect for our style of a very homely pub that is all about having a great time whether eating, drinking, staying over or holding an event. Our design will showcase the beautiful building and is a personal reflection of our enjoyment of life.  The whole point of The Dolphin is for people to be relaxed, as if they were coming to our house, hence they then need to have fun, try new things and above all to enjoy the company of others and to eat and drink heartily. “We are passionate about local sourcing, so they will play an important part at The Dolphin.  There will be locally sourced ingredients used for our dishes as well as local ales and coffee.

Tim Galligan, operations and sales director of Star Pubs & Bars said: “Ed and Buffy have a great eye for design, a love of local craft, an understanding of what people want and are relentless in their pursuit of excellent customer service. “We’re delighted to be co-investing with them on a second project helping to create a stunning and unique pub for Newbury which offers the conviviality and fun of an old-fashioned coaching inn, with 21st century comfort and style. Great pubs like The Dolphin need ongoing investment to flourish in the long-term.”