'Never seen anything like it' - community pulls together to revamp pub

The Tavern, a community pub in Elmswell, has had a relaunch new leaseholders, Chris and Sarah Mapey, took it on.

The Tavern, a community pub in Elmswell, has had a relaunch after new leaseholders, Chris and Sarah Mapey, took it on. - Credit: Chris Mapey

A community pub under a new landlord and landlady has been revamped in just over a week thanks to an "amazing" team effort.

Woodbridge-based Chris and Sarah Mapey, who also run The Angel in Woodbridge and The Duke in Ipswich, have taken on the lease of the Elmswell Tavern, formerly the Railway Tavern.

Elmswell Parish Council bought the site last year with aspirations to renovate and extend the pub and also build affordable homes for village people.

Chris Mapey also runs The Angel in Woodbridge and The Duke in Ipswich

Chris Mapey also runs The Angel in Woodbridge and The Duke in Ipswich. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr and Mrs Mapey are on board to run the pub for the foreseeable future, with plans to revitalise the Tavern with live music, quality ale and a focus on darts and pool teams.

Mr Mapey said in 10 days the inside was redecorated and the outside was revamped with the help of local volunteers, ready in time for a relaunch event on Friday, July 30.


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"It's the most dramatic demonstration of community coming together," said Elmswell Parish Clerk Peter Dow.

"I have been involved for 40 years now in this community. I have never seen anything like it. It really has caught the mood of the moment."

The Tavern looking smart after a community effort helped spruce it up.

The Tavern looking smart after a community effort helped spruce it up. - Credit: Chris Mapey

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Mr Mapey said 55 volunteers turned out one day to mow the grass and cut down the weeds and paint inside and out.

"It's been a really lovely team, community effort to get the pub up to standard," he said.

The Tavern before the revamp.

The Tavern before the revamp. - Credit: Chris Mapey

The event on July 30, which featured a live band, saw about 350 people on site - which Mr Dow said showed "a need" for the pub.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "What we demonstrated on Friday last is we have got vast community support."

Mr Mapey said the response had been "heart-warming."

The landlord is growing a team of up to about 15 people to staff the Tavern, which he said "absolutely" had a lot of potential. 

Tavern pub managers Pixie and Dave outside the pub.

Tavern pub managers Pixie and Dave outside the pub. - Credit: Chris Mapey

He said: "Live music is what we love. We have three different cask ales on that will always be changing.

"It's trying to make it a good, viable, community pub. We are interested in the public telling us what they want."

Mr Mapey said they had spent about £8-10,000 on improvements to the pub so far, including new outdoor furniture, new beer dispenser equipment and cellar cooling.

Mr Dow said they were hoping to start building work in April/May next year, during which the pub will have to close.

He said community shares in the pub would make a "major contribution" to funding the works.

The Tavern doesn't currently have a restaurant, but is due to have one once the major works are complete.


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