A popular city centre pub is getting ready to unveil its stylish new look after making the most of lockdown to complete its long-awaited refurbishment.
The Punch Hotel in Queen Victoria Square reopened in September 2019 after being taken over by Forrest & Co who brought plans for a comprehensive makeover.
The project was delayed first by bad winter weather and then by the disruption and uncertainty of Covid-19 but now the pub has been transformed inside and out following an investment of around £140,000.
Chris Forrest, a Director of Forrest & Co, said: “The first winter was very difficult because of the weather and when March came in 2020 we were looking forward to a good spring and summer. Instead we got the lockdown!
“But we’ve made good use of the time to complete our refurbishment with a big investment in new furniture and fittings. We’ve gone for an Edwardian gin palace style and feel with a speakeasy beer garden at the back and a big mural of the old docks which will have a prohibition theme.”
HullBID played its part in the venture with its Cleaning and Maintenance Operative, Martin Foster, jet washing the outdoor area at the front of the pub to remove gum and other waste and set the scene for some striking before and after pictures.
Now Chris and his manager, Sean Curtis are looking forward to welcoming drinkers and diners to the seating at the front of The Punch and the beer garden at the back, with a full reopening inside scheduled for Monday 17 May.
Full details of the reopening plans will be posted on the pub’s Facebook page at Forrest & Co at the Punch Hotel.
Chris said: “Martin did a great job with the jet washing and now we’re ready to go. The regulars will struggle to recognise the place!
“Sean has got some big plans for entertainment at weekends including live acts in the beer garden and we’re aiming to get involved in all the city centre events. People are familiar with the outside area at the front of the pub but they might not be aware of the space we have at the back – we’ve got more than 100 seats outside in total.”
Kathryn Shillito, HullBID Executive Director, said: “The Punch has always been one of the most popular pubs in the city centre with shoppers, visitors to the city and crowds attending events at the City Hall and they’re sure to be impressed by the stunning new look which is in keeping with the building’s spectacular frontage.
“We’re delighted that Martin was able to help by cleaning the outside area as part of his wider efforts to help businesses, particularly in the food and beverage sector, prepare to welcome their customers back to the city centre.”
[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]