Former Geronimo Inns managing director, Ed Turner, has secured a second site for his Buff & Bear Saloons business, for an opening in the Spring.
The group, which is run by Turner, his wife Buffy and their partner Shane O’Neill, has taken on the Star Pubs & Bars site, The Dolphin in Newbury, Berkshire. It joins the Salisbury Ale & Coffee house, which opened last year.
Together with Star Pubs & Bars, the group is undertaking a joint £500,000 refurbishment of the prominent town centre site. Closed since May, The Dolphin will be transformed into a “homely mix of pub, house and garden”.
Turner told MCA that the early part of 2018 would be dominated by the opening of The Dolphin but that he was already looking at further sites for the business.
The Dolphin will feature a mix of furniture styles and decors creating a modern members club look and feel. The group descirbed these as:
The Bartholemew Bar with settle seating where people can enjoy bar snacks and a tankard of ale, or a martini.
The lively Saloon, a mix of lounging and dining will be the centre of the entertainment. The Snug is dedicated to chilled relaxation and games with fireside armchairs, card tables and a vintage ‘Jeu de La Grenouille’.
The Pantry, the breakfast room that transforms into a private room for meetings, dinners, cocktail making classes and wine and beer tastings.
The light and airy Dining Room which seats up to forty. Large skylights botanic fabric covered seats, palm-tree lighting and doors opening onto the garden combine to link the inside with the garden.
The garden has dining tables, bookable garden huts, a pagoda and greenery to bring a bit of the country into the heart of Newbury, with seating for up to fifty.
All the rooms can be hired out individually for a range of functions, from meetings and workshops, to breakfasts and parties. The team will be hosting a series of quizzes, drawing classes, food and drink classes and the occasional sporting event.
Upstairs, there will be five bedrooms with Feather and Black beds, rainfall showers, flat screen TVs, WiFi, boxes of Lego. Room number one has a record player to allow guests to relax to some vinyl.
The Dolphin will also feature a unique glass fronted visible cellar which can be seen from the street, showing the latest state-of-art SmartDispense cellar system.
The drinks range has a strong artisan influence. Headlining the draught beers are Heineken, Moretti, Lagunitas, West Berks Renegade and Wild Bibble, and local cask ales from SIBA members. Accompanying the extensive wine list from family wine merchant Davys Wine Merchants are 20 gins, craft bottled beers and a Bloody Mary and cocktail list. A separate ‘Mindful drinking list’ includes mocktails, Turner Hardy and Co tomato juices and low and no alcohol beers. The artisan coffees are from Southampton roasters, Mozzo.
The menu includes light meals such as dressed Dorset crab and avocado and Chalk stream trout with poached egg and bubble & squeak. Mains include Calves liver & bacon, shorthorn cheeseburger, pickles, relis & fries and Lobster mac & cheese and rib eyes with béarnaise sauce from the grill. At the weekend there will be Bloody Mary brunches and fixed price Sunday lunches. Suppliers include Isle of Wight’s Tomato Seller, Honesty bakery, West Berks Brewery and Chalk Stream Foods. Prices start from £5 at lunch and £9 for dinner.
Turner said: “We’ve always wanted to open in Newbury as we live close by and the Dolphin is perfect for our style of entertaining friends; never a dull moment and having a great time whether eating, drinking, staying over or having a full-on party. Our design will showcase the beautiful building and is a personal reflection of our enjoyment of life.
“Buffy and I are passionate about local sourcing, so they will play an important part at The Dolphin. There will be locally sourced ingredients used for our dishes as well as local ales and coffee.”
He told MCA: “The atmosphere we are trying to create is that if you are staying with us is like staying with a friend – a communal, welcoming feel.
“Just as we have done with the Ale & Coffee House, we have tried to create something unique, that fits the local character and the building. Newbury is a very different area to Salisbury – there’s a little bit more London to it so we have been able to experiment in a few different ways.”
On plans for further growth, Turner said: “You have to be constantly on the look-out, otherwise you will miss the opportunities. We are in no rush but we do want to grow.
Tim Galligan, operations and sales director of Star Pubs & Bars said: “Ed and Buffy have a great eye for design, a love of local craft, a real understanding of what people want and are relentless in their pursuit of personality and excellent customer service.
“We’re delighted to be co-investing with them on a second project helping to create a stunning and unique pub for Newbury which offers the conviviality and fun of an old-fashioned coaching inn, with 21st century comfort and style.”