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Investment to Reopen Landmark Chelmsford Pub After Three-Year Closure

A £250,000 refurbishment has been confirmed to reopen a high-profile Chelmsford pub that has been almost continuously closed since September 2019.


The project will turn The Compasses on Broomfield Road into a great quality family-friendly pub serving outstanding food, ending local uncertainty about its future. The investment is being carried out by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and new licensee Ben Mulvaney


The Compasses is the second pub in the Chelmsford area for Ben who, with his wife Corina, has transformed The Blue Lion at Great Baddow into a much-loved local since taking it over in November 2020. It has proved so popular with Chelmsford residents that many have asked the couple to open a second venue in the city.


Work starts at The Compasses on 26th September and the pub is scheduled to reopen in early November just as Ben and Corina celebrate their second anniversary as Chelmsford licensees. 14 new jobs will be created.


The project will fully renovate the outside of the imposing building, installing new signage, lighting and planting to give the pub a smart look that complements the neighbourhood. A stylish 60-seater alfresco area will be developed complete with soft furnishings and planting plus covers and heating for year-round, all-weather use.


A complete internal revamp will update and upgrade The Compasses to a high standard, making it more contemporary and welcoming. The Compasses will have a traditional bar area with screens for watching sports, a 100-seater dining space and a stunning 20-cover private dining and function room


A kitchen refit will enable Ben to introduce a menu of gourmet traditional pub classics ranging from burgers to fish & chips and Sunday roasts. All the dishes right down to the gravy and sauces will be freshly prepared from scratch using ingredients sourced from local suppliers such as Thurley Meats and The Vines Fruiterers. 


Ben – who previously headed up food and beverages in boutique five star hotels, restaurants and bars wants to put The Compasses on the map for the quality of its drinks as well as its food. To that end, it will serve an extensive selection of premium beers and ciders as well as an eclectic range of carefully chosen spirits and wines. 


Says Ben: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the warm welcome we’ve been given at The Blue Lion and feel very fortunate to have found another great pub with so much potential in Chelmsford. It’s been sad to see such a prominent pub closed for so long. We’ll be giving The Compasses the TLC and investment it needs to thrive again. The aim is to deliver restaurant-quality food and service levels but in a relaxed pub environment at pub prices.”


Adds Andrew Smurthwaite, Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager: “We’re delighted to be working with Ben to reopen The Compasses. Ben is an extremely talented and experienced operator. With Ben at the helm, The Compasses will be a superb pub for local residents as well as a destination dining spot for those from further afield.”