Portsmouth pub reopens with £10,000 facelift as landlord reveals £30,000 lockdown debt struggle
AN EASTNEY pub full of character is to reopen with new publicans behind the bar – and a £10,000 revamp to welcome back customers.
Garry and Sue Disdle, who previously ran The Olive Leaf in Hayling Island, will be reopening the Sir Loin of Beef in Highland Road next month.
The couple have already invested a five-figure sum into the renovating the lounge bar, including a new sound system.
Now the pair plan to reopen the pub on May 17 and host a range of regular events, according to Garry.
The 63-year-old said: ‘We want to bring in more people and a more diverse group. That's why we have revamped the lounge bar – for couples to come in for a drink together. And we plan to bring back mid-week quizzes, music nights, and meat raffles.’
Bar snacks will be available while the new publicans overhaul the kitchen, with an expanded menu set to launch next year.
Taking on the pub as a freehold with a private landlord, Garry hopes to offer a range of real ales to attract discerning beer lovers.
It follows the couple taking on Stonegate-owned The Olive Leaf in November 2019 – marking the start of a ‘tough’ 12 months with rolling lockdowns and restrictions that wracked up heavy debts.
Garry said: ‘It was tough. The very first lockdown we were still having to pay full rent. At the worst point, we were in £30,000 worth of debt.’
Despite bouncing back with strong trade outside of lockdown and bringing themselves out of the red, the couple say landlords are still tentative about business after the latest lockdown.
Garry said: ‘We’re still living on a knife edge. I hope that the trade comes back – we need the customers.
‘But the worry is that people will have got used to drinking at home.
‘The government has been tremendous when it comes to the furlough scheme and grants. But they should extend business rate relief beyond a couple of months – extending into next year would have helped this industry a lot.’
The Sir Loin of Beef will not be operating a booking service when it reopens on May 17.