Have you seen this Suffolk pub’s new outdoor kitchen and bar?
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
With current government guidelines meaning we’re only allowed to dine outdoors until Monday, May 17, a number of pubs and restaurants across the country have had to get creative in order to make the most out of their beer gardens and terraces.
And one business in Suffolk has gone the extra mile – taking ‘outdoor-only dining’ to a whole new level.
The Kings Arms in Haughley – which is reopening its doors on Friday, April 23 – is ecstatic to welcome back customers as it unveils its brand-new outdoor bar and food service kiosk.
The flatpack kiosk, donated by Portable Space, has been fully kitted out with a functional bar and wood fired oven - meaning kitchen staff can join customers outside, cooking right in front of them.
Portable Space’s managing director Mark Dolman explains how the donation came about. He says: “We’ve known the owners, Lucy and Grant, for a while now – their pub is local to us and we’ve often gone in there as a team and had many meals.
“With the pubs reopening, we knew we had a product that could help them, so I got in touch with Lucy to see if they were planning on doing anything outside, and it went from there.”
The kiosk – which measures 4 metres by 2.1 metres – has been safely fitted with electricity and water, meaning the pub’s staff can serve both food and drink completely outdoors.
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“We’ve always had in mind that the kiosks would be used at festivals or as Christmas market stalls, but due to lockdown, they’ve all gone to pubs and restaurants who are now looking to serve customers outdoors.
“The beauty of them is that they’re like a blank canvas – people can use them for a variety of purposes, and as they’re flatpacked, they can easily be manoeuvred and assembled in tight places.”
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Pub landlord Lucy Jones adds: “The last few weeks have been spent working on it and getting it ready for our reopening this week – and we simply can’t wait.
“The front side lifts up, and on the inside, one half is allocated for food and the other half is our drinks service area. We’ve got a flue going through the roof, so we can safely use the wood fired oven within and cook all of our food out here.”
Food on the pub’s outdoor menu includes pizza, tacos and slow cooked meats.
The outdoor bar will feature two beer taps, and also serve a range of cocktails, wines and spirits.
“We try to be as local and seasonal as possible, even down to the spirits we serve. At the moment, we’re using St Giles gin from Norwich – they do a dry gin, and a rhubarb and raspberry variety, so we’ll see how those go down.”
The pub – which was open for collection-only takeaway during lockdown – is feeling incredibly optimistic as its loyal clientele rushed to book slots during the weeks ahead of its grand reopening.
“We’re feeling really positive about reopening now. It’s been a turbulent year for everybody over the last year, and I think it’s quite encouraging how everyone has diversified their business ideas in order to fit in with restrictions.
“We’ve had a great response from our customers already – the majority of them are itching to get back out, and I think trade will be thriving by the end of the year.”
In similarly high spirits is Mark, who adds: “We’re really looking forward to being able to go to The Kings Arms again, and see our local pubs thrive. That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to help them out – many of our employees are based here, and that’s their local pub, so we wanted to give them somewhere they could go and relax after work.”