Community pub’s speedy turnaround scoops award

Greystones pub
Greystones pub

A SHEFFIELD pub has been judged the best in Yorkshire and the North East for the way its fortunes have been transformed.

Trade is on track to increase by almost 400% as a result of new management and a new direction as a community venue since The Greystones reopened last November.

Its success at an time when many pubs across the country are closing is reflected in an award of the Best Turnaround Pub in the region by the Morning Advertiser, the UK’s magazine for the licensed trade.

Now The Greystones will go forward to the national final in early September where further success would put it in the running for Great British Pub of the Year.

Formerly the Highcliffe Hotel, it is generally regarded as having lost its way for a number for years before being given a new lease of life under a pioneering deal between owners Enterprise Inns and Bakewell-based Thornbridge Brewery.

After an extensive refurbishment, the building offers a wide range of real ales, music, comedy and other community events. The re-emergence as a music venue of national reputation is a hark back to the Highcliffe Folk and Blues Club of the Sixties and Seventies.

Thornbridge director Simon Webster said the award was “a magnificent achievement that reflects a positive working partnership with Enterprise and a great team effort by manager Mike Pidgeon and all his staff.

“The local community deserved a better pub than the one they had, and they have embraced The Greystones as a valuable part of their neighbourhood.”

Mike Harrison, regional manager for Enterprise Inns, said: “What has been achieved is nothing short of remarkable and it is a fabulous example of how a clear yet simple approach to pub retailing and the strictest attention to detail can deliver fantastic results.

“This is as good an example of how to turn a failing pub business around as I’ve ever seen and I’ve been working in this industry for over 30 years. I would describe it as having been something of a ‘labour of love’ for both parties.”

The Greystones deal sees Thornbridge being allowed to sell all beers free of tie, except keg, which it buys from Enterprise’s list.

Encouraged by the success, Thornbridge has taken over another community pub, the Hallamshire House in Commonside, Walkley, which it aims to launch next month and, it was announced last week, it is taking over Trippets bar in Trippet Lane from October.