We’re going to be doing a fast ‘Changing Rooms’ refurbishment of the pub to get it trading as we can’t afford to sit on a shut building – the projects to big for that.
So to get the project started we’re aiming to raise £30,000 locally. To date we’ve raised £15,000 already, and whilst the latter phases of the project are a lot more expensive; we will end up with a fantastic, extraordinary, flexible, financially successful business that operates fossil fuel free.
So what’s the plan?
The plan is to get trading with an inexpensive but radical overhaul of interior decor, fixtures and fittings. Nothing structural, purely cosmetic – but VERY different from anything it’s looked like for generations. Great products, local regional ales, fab wines, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks; basic but brilliant food – pies, stews, veggies and cakes, excellent coffees teas and infusions and stunning snacks.
We will then lay out our wares – local and regional ales, food and wide range of non-alcoholic drinks, coffees, teas and infusions. Our front of house staff will be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, motivated well trained and attentive.
We will host a VERY basic but very good menu that front of house people can prepare and serve without needing kitchen expertise, and use this trading as a shop window for what we will do down the line.
There is an enormous amount of work because it’s a very big site, but nothing of it is overly challenging as long as we can raise the finance.
The pub is tradeable now but to achieve the potential of the site and location the amenity needs to be much improved and extended. The kitchen and toilets need sorting out, as does the cellar and storage.
Accommodation above is like a bunk house and there is no function room – because the original has been converted into domestic accommodation and the stair case to it removed. However, the rest of the site is blue sky blank canvas – the outdoor facilities are dire as they are and there needs to be a lot of new build.
We will be inviting the general public to set up shop on the rear land at an incredibly generous rent. Our open arms are extended to all the makers, crafts, arts, artisan foods, goods, bric-a-brac and anyone else who would be interested. We also have a gin distillery and a coffee roastery setting up on site.
Finally, the Brown Bear will be the birthplace and home of Berwick Gin
It’s a mixed used, flexible and versatile space with multi-function capabilities. From live music, spoken word, stand-up, exhibition, and receptions; right through to venue hire, book launches and so on. It all needs to be create through a staged implementation plan.
We will be seeking volunteer expertise on design, build and products. Whilst Stage 1 is underway we will be planning the next two phases, meticulously costing, budgeting, applying for grant funding and a community share issue; all the while harnessing your ideas, vision, creative input, elbow grease and grit
The general public are invited to set up shop on the rear land at an incredibly generous rent. Our open arms are extended to all the makers, crafts, arts, artisan foods, goods, bric-a-brac and anyone else who would be interested.
We’ll use the pub and the market (see below) as open seven days a week drop in for community feedback and involvement in the development of the whole project. The Brown Bear will be a beacon burning brightly for Berwick, the Borders and beyond.
Above: Joint to the cellar some 25 foot away from the main bar, are the storage rooms. With endless potential, there is a lot of work required here.
Above: We take a look towards the rear of the pub; from just beyond the bar area in its current decor.
Above: Standing towards the rear of the pub, we’re looking towards the back-left hand side of the grounds.
Above: In this view we’re standing in the grounds of the former Meeting Hall at the Brown Bear, built three centuries earlier.