Bonfire night holds no fears for pub

WHEN your business has been knocked out by a disastrous fire, there is one time which is really tempting fate for a grand re-opening . . . Bonfire Night.

WHEN your business has been knocked out by a disastrous fire, there is one time which is really tempting fate for a grand re-opening . . . Bonfire Night.

But that hasn't put off Roy Gillies who is opening the doors at the Farmhouse pub at Kesgrave for the first time in more than three months and he is also tempting fate by arranging for a fire-eater to greet guests at the pub - but was quick to add this would happen outside.

The interior of the building had to be completely refurbished after the fire on August 1, which destroyed large parts of the kitchen and dining area.

Mr Gillies said: “Everything has been done up. All our kitchen, cellar, office - everything from the back of the house. It has been completely refurbished, it looks fantastic.”


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The significance of re-opening on November 5 was not lost on the manager, who said it would add a little fun to the occasion.

He said: “We planned it that way. We were hoping to have some fireworks, but safety regulations wouldn't allow it. But we have got a fire-eater instead.

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“Anybody is welcome, it is aimed at everyone. We can't wait to get open again.”

The pub will re-open at 11am on Wednesday, with a fire-eater performing at the entrance to the building between 7 and 7.30pm.

Other evening entertainment will include a children's entertainer and a magician, who will go from table to table in the dining area until 9.30 pm.

The Hungry Horse pub's dining area seats 154 people, with more space at the bar for people coming in for drinks, and Mr Gillies said he is hoping for a full house.

The credit crunch may have been eating away at the restaurant industry, but the manager is sure the new menu and affordable prices will make his pub even more appealing.

He said: “We are a value offer, you can eat here cheaper than you can at McDonald's. We expect it will be very busy, we have had lots of interest from people asking when we are opening.”

Fortunately, the fire did not reach the main part of the historic 16th century building, which was once a private farmhouse.

The kitchen and roof were very badly damaged, but the original house, which is a grade II listed building, was untouched by the fire and is still preserved.

Mr Gillies was unable to comment on the cost of the fire damage to the pub, which is owned by Greene King, but confirmed it had been very expensive to refurbish.

PUB FACTS

The 500-year-old farmhouse, which still has its original beams, is a grade II listed building, and the oldest building in Kesgrave.

The houses on the estate surrounding the farmhouse were originally all farmland belonging to the Grange Farm estate.

The Alice Grange Care Home, which is next door to the Farmhouse, was named after Alice Jolly, who was born in what is now the pub.

The dramatic fire in August was captured on video by passers-by, the videos can be seen at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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