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A historic Derby city centre pub that has been closed for more than three years is celebrating its reopening following a major refurbishment. 


A £450,000 investment by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars has turned The Dog & Moon on Sadler Gate into a stylish bar with an 80-seater hidden garden, its own smoker and an extensive drinks selection that spans craft beers, barista-quality coffee and cocktails. To mark its new direction, the venue is reverting to its previous name of The Shakespeare. The reopening has created 26 new jobs, with Derby born-and-bred Will Spenser taking the helm as the licensee. 


The inside of The Shakespeare has been totally revamped with a smart, stripped- back decor that maintains the character of the 300-year-old building whilst adding contemporary touches. Features such as dark wood paneling, wood floors and exposed brickwork have been retained and complemented with vintage fittings, modern leather-covered booth seating and an atrium-style glass roof lined with foliage. A bar shelf and stools by the window overlooking Sadler Gate make a perfect spot to watch the world go by. 


The exterior overhaul has carefully renovated the outside of the former coaching inn, installing new signage and lighting. To the rear there is a colourful courtyard garden with its own bar, booth seating and covered heated areas with an orangery look that can be used year-round.


Thanks to a new outdoor kitchen and smoker, Will says The Shakespeare will bring “something unique” to the city centre on the food front. The smokehouse menu includes homemade burgers, American-style sandwiches and sourdough pizzas, as well as meat dishes – such as brisket and ribs – smoked on site. All the food is freshly prepared using locally sourced ingredients where possible, and customers can experience the theatre of seeing chefs cook in the open-sided kitchen. 


Will is continuing the emphasis on ‘fresh’ with The Shakespeare’s drinks menu. In addition to a wide range of wines and spirits, there are five craft beers on tap, and cocktails – created by the bar’s mixologist – are shaken and stirred to order. 


Comments Will: “It feels fantastic to be reopening such an iconic Derby pub; there’s lots of excitement about it. The Shakespeare looks amazing better than I could ever have imagined. People who’ve seen it have been blown away by the transformation.”


Adds Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager for Derby Amanda Bloor: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Will to give The Shakespeare a new lease of life. His plans are spot on and will have a broad appeal. It’s a beautiful setting for residents and visitors to Derby to enjoy all sorts of occasions, from morning coffee to excellent food and a great night out.”


The Shakespeare opens at 11am every day with food served from 12pm. Thursday to Saturday nights it will be the place to party, closing at 2am with live entertainment from 6pm followed by a DJ.