ONE of Bury’s best known pubs has undergone a huge renovation and is set to open its doors again.
It’s been all hands to the pumps to bring The Clarence, in Silver Street, back into operation.
The rejuvenated pub and restaurant, which has received significant investment from Lee Hollinworth, who also runs nearby Automatic and Malt Bar, is set to open on October 3.
Mr Hollinworth, who is joined by general manager Brian Wynne and head brewer Craig Adams, said he estimated he would have spent about £600,000 on the pub by the time it opens for business.
He said that the project had been a huge challenge, and that the structure of the iconic building itself was in question when he bought it three years ago.
Mr Hollinworth said: “We got in some surveyors and one just said ‘No, I am not getting involved in this.’ Sometimes I have wondered that myself, but it will be worth it.
“It went from being a refurbishment to a renovation job. The plan’s changed about 25 times.”
The pub is still a building site, but is starting to take shape and is on course for completion on time.
The four-storey building features the ground level pub, a first floor restaurant, a second floor exclusive cocktail bar called Fallen Angel and an area for staff meetings and offices on the top floor.
The ground floor bar, which can trace its roots back to 1905, is based in the exact location that the original bar was situated.
Staff discovered this by taking up five layers of flooring, to level out the uneven surface, and eventually uncovered tiles which marked the layout of the bar.
The interior features a range of quirky and period features, harking back to its roots, including a working dumbwaiter, a large Victorian-style lamp in the outdoor smoking area and fireplaces which will feature an open fire when temperatures drop.
The pub already has its own brewery in the basement, the Silver Street Brewing Company.
Mr Wynne said that the idea was to go back to the concept of a traditional pub, and serve a “happy medium” between fine dining and hearty gastro pub grub.
Mr Wynne, who has previously managed bars in London as well as Cloud 23 at the Hilton in Manchester, said: “We are trying to bring it back to what it used to be, back to its former glory.
“Bury is crying out for somewhere like this. There is a real market for us and it is a perfect location, right in the centre with tourist trade as well.”
The pub is to welcome musician Tom Robinson on October 18, well-known as a DJ on BBC 6 Music and as the frontman of the Tom Robinson Band, which had a number five hit in 1977 with 2-4-6-8 Motorway.