Star commences work on second Reading refurbishments

Star commences work on second Reading refurbishments

We’ve partnered with the Thirsty Bear Group Ltd to start work on a £500,000 refurbishment of the Wynford Arms in central Reading, which is to reopen the pub after an 18- month closure. The development will convert the pub into a New York style pizzeria and bar called The Thirsty Bear and is expected to open in March next year.

The site will be the first Thirsty Bear with partners Vince Healy (Managing Director of Ascot Inns) and New Yorker Michael Wheeler (who is an experienced pizza restaurateur), who are looking to create a group of up to six venues.

The project follows our £310,000 refurbishment of the Thatchers Tavern in Woodley, Reading with TM Dining in September, bringing our total investment in the town to £810,000 in the last four months.

Work at the Wynford Arms will double the pub’s trading area, transforming the traditional pub interior with a stunning contemporary look and subtle American influence. Downstairs the space will be opened up to make a light, airy bar with an open-plan pizza kitchen as well as dessert and barista coffee stations. Upstairs, disused accommodation will be converted into a stylish lounge with comfortable seating and a rooftop garden will be created on a flat roof extension, with seating for 45 people.

The Thirsty Bear’s offer will have an American theme. Authentic New York style pizza will be central to the menu. The company is using secret tomato sauce topping and pizza dough recipes and importing a £20,000 pizza oven from America in order to ensure a crispy thin crust. Fabio Ferrarini, an award winning pizza chef, will train The Thirsty Bear’s chefs and kitchen staff. Other American dishes such as ribs and chicken wings will also be on the menu. The dessert station will sell American favourites including Mississippi Mud Pie and New York style cheesecake as well as smoothies and shakes.

Drinks will be American focused with beers such as Lagunitas, 30 specially sourced hard-to-find bourbons and 10 American gins. Half of the wine list will be American wines.

Lawson Mountstevens, Star’s Managing Director, said: “It’s great to be able to reopen the Wynford Arms and complement the regeneration of the neighbourhood. Vince has many years experience in the hospitality sector and looks set for success; the pizza recipe is second to none and Thirsty Bear will bring a distinctive and individual concept unlike any other in the town to Reading.”