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Iconic Rainhill Pub Reopens After Five-Month Closure and £800,000 Makeover

An iconic Rainhill pub reopens this week after a five-month closure and a dramatic £800,000 makeover by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and Merseyside-based Public Urban Bars. 40 new jobs have been created.

Formerly named The Victoria, The Cookhouse Pub & Carvery on Warrington Road is “like a totally different pub with something for everyone”, according to new licensee Robert Ashpital. The venue now boasts a revamped interior complete with bar and dining areas, an ice cream parlour, a coffee lounge and a self-contained function room. Its relandscaped garden has seating for 200 and features a large children’s playground and a covered pergola for year-round alfresco eating and drinking.

Robert says he wants The Cookhouse to be “a hub of local life that supports the community”. To that end, the function room is being made available to local good causes in need of meeting space, and the pub is launching an events programme to provide residents with entertainment on the doorstep. Plans range from performances by tribute bands and comedy nights to a kids’ cinema club and parties.

With restrictions and lockdowns in place last December, the pub is determined to make this year’s Christmas extra special. The Cookhouse will supply the power for Rainhill’s Christmas light switch-on and will also host children’s suppers with Santa.

The Cookhouse’s extensive overhaul has taken three months to complete. To add to the centre of Rainhill, the pub’s exterior has been fully renovated with new planting, lighting and signage. Work to the inside has included a stunning contemporary design and the installation of new toilets, wheel-chair accessible entrances and a commercial kitchen.

Rainhill resident Sean Tate will lead the kitchen team as head chef. The pub will open at 9am for breakfast and brunch and will offer classic pub favourites, a carvery and special occasion menus. An extensive selection of drinks will span premium wines, spirits and beers, plus cocktails and barista-quality coffee. 

Adds Robert: “The reaction from the village has been phenomenal. There’s a real buzz and excitement in Rainhill about the opening. I’ve worked in hospitality for more than 20 years and never known anything like it. I love seeing people enjoy themselves and feel fortunate to be part of a pub that will offer so much. We’ve already been inundated with function room bookings, and our Halloween party for eighty children sold out in days.”

Comments Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager Phil McWilliam: “The Cookhouse is a real landmark of Rainhill. We’re pleased to have helped bring it back to life for the whole community to enjoy. The scale of the investment shows: the pub looks fantastic and has amazing facilities.”

The refurbishment of The Cookhouse Pub & Carvery is part of a £38m investment that Star Pubs & Bars is making in more than 700 pubs in 2021.