Iconic Woodley pub closes for major investment

Iconic Woodley pub closes for major investment

An iconic Woodley pub, the Thatchers Tavern on Fairwater Drive, has closed for a £450k refurbishment by ourselves and Reading licensee and resident, Ted Docherty, who also operates the Crown at Playhatch. The project ends local uncertainty about the Thatchers’ future. It will transform the tired building into a great quality traditional pub, renaming it the Waterside Pub and Kitchen to reflect its position next to South Lake and the introduction of excellent food.

Work is expected to take five weeks with the pub scheduled to reopen in late November. Around 20 new jobs will be created.

Outside, work will include repainting and renovating the pub to make it an attractive feature of Woodley once again. The car park will be repaired, the garden landscaped and replanted and an alfresco will be area created for eating and drinking.

Inside, the pub will be completely refurbished in a contemporary style but with a traditional feel in keeping with the pub’s distinctive architecture. New toilets will be installed and a cosy snug bar with comfortable seating and sofas added. The kitchen will be replaced and upgraded to enable the Waterside Pub and Kitchen to serve a menu of freshly prepared food ranging from pub favourites to specialties from South Africa, where Ted once lived. 

Ted is determined to put the Waterside Pub and Kitchen on the map for the quality of its beer as well as its food, and is upgrading the cellar in order to offer a choice of five cask ales.

Ted mentioned, “I’ve had my eye on the Thatchers Tavern for many years; when I saw it was available with a refurbishment planned, I jumped at the chance to take it. I want to make the Waterside Pub & Kitchen somewhere all the community can enjoy. I believe a great local has an important role to play in any neighbourhood and with so much house building in Woodley, there is a real demand for a traditional pub serving great food.”

Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars Managing Director said: “We feel fortunate that such an experienced licensee as Ted, who knows Reading so well, is taking on the Thatchers and working with us to revive its fortunes. Heineken is a passionate supporter of the great British pub and is investing in pubs like Thatchers to help them deliver excellent quality, attract customers and thrive at the heart of their communities for years to come.”

Ted, who was born in the UK but brought up in South Africa, fell in love with pubs when he returned to the UK as a student and took part time bar work. “I planned to visit England for six months, but I found my vocation and haven’t looked back,” says Ted. “Reading has got everything – it’s a vibrant town close to London but surrounded by stunning countryside. I feel very lucky to have found another pub in Reading with so much character and so much to offer.”