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The Fountain in Okehampton to Close for a Major Upgrade

The Fountain in Okehampton is to close at end of play on Sunday 6th March for a major £220,000 upgrade by Star Pubs & Bars Ltd., Heineken’s pub business1, and its new licensees with the aim of broadening its appeal and creating the best family friendly pub in town.  It will reopen in early April in time for Easter.

The new managers, Mark and Laura Jephcott, have 10 years’ experience of running successful pubs in the West Country, most recently The Market House in the centre of Glastonbury which had struggled for years before they took it on and turned it around.  Having listened to feedback from locals, their plans for The Fountain include creating a cocktail lounge, hosting live music in the bar including open mic nights, quizzes and wine tastings.  And when the weather warms up they’ll have live background jazz and acoustic guitar playing in the garden at weekends.

Outside the coaching inn is being given a makeover, redecorated in a striking classic French grey render at the front with new lighting and signage. At the rear, the pub’s traditional character and beautiful stonework are being retained, undergrowth cleared, and the terrace and fantastic riverside beer garden given a new lease of life.  There will be a new covered seating area for alfresco eating and drinking and new garden furniture. A new planting scheme and festoon lighting will add to its character.  Much to the delight of residents, there will also be a new carpark entrance and tarmac drive.

Inside, funds are being spent on a top-to-toe redecoration of the dated interior and new furniture to create a fresh more modern look.  A riverside restaurant is being created, and a further 12 covers added in the covered courtyard seating area.  The front bar will offer real ales, gins and cocktails and a new HDTV screen will be installed to show live sports. The two bars and restaurant feature open fires, creating a cosy feel during the winter. The pub’s six letting rooms are also all being upgraded to a high standard with new furniture, carpets and ensuite bathrooms added. A dog friendly letting room will feature top quality wood effect Karndean flooring

Food at the pub is being taken to a higher level under the stewardship of a new chef, Dave Wright. The menu will feature hearty home-made fresh pub classics at affordable prices including locally sourced steaks, mussels and fresh fish as well as vegan and gluten free options.  A major feature will be a Sunday carvery offering all the trimmings, which will also be available as a takeaway. If there is demand, the couple will put on a mid-week carvery too.

The Fountain will open for breakfast and offer speciality fresh coffee all day. And for four legged friends there will be bar snacks.

Mark says: “We’ve only just taken on The Fountain in the last couple of weeks, but it has given us a chance to meet some of the regulars and find out what they’d like the pub to offer.  It’s a fantastic pub with a great riverside location – it’s just a bit tired and needs investment and an injection of passion, which it is now getting. 

“I have worked in the pub trade since I was 16, becoming a manager at 18. It’s in my blood. Both Laura and I love creating warm and friendly places where people can enjoy themselves.  In the short time we’ve been here the feedback has been unreal about the changes we’ve already made, which is very encouraging.  

Laura and I are very excited by The Fountain’s future and to be coming on this transformational journey with everyone in the community. We look forward to opening the doors and welcoming customers in time for Easter.”

Andy Spry, Star Pubs & Bars Business Development Manager said: “We’re delighted that a couple of Mark and Laura’s calibre will be running The Fountain.  They’ve got a great track record and will be a real asset to the Okehampton community. The pub’s location and fantastic riverside beer garden together with its great real ale offering and good value quality homemade food, make it an ideal place for dog walkers or people wanting somewhere to socialise and enjoy a drink or meal. It will be the only premium local in the area, which will broaden its appeal and give it a new lease of life.”

The Fountain will open for breakfast and food will be served Monday to Saturday from 12-9pm and on Sunday a carvery will operate from 12-5pm.