While the new pub on Kingsway, The Barn Owl, is due to open on Monday, they have opened up over the weekend to do some staff training and it was a great opportunity to go and see what the latest addition to the community was going to offer.
The pub is in the Marsdons chain, and they already have a couple in Gloucester already. The interior of the pub does look stunning and it is much bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside.My first mistake was thinking that I had booked a table for 1830h, when they had me down for 1930h. Regardless of who was in error, the staff hardly missed a beat before taking Amanda and I to a table. We ordered drinks (Wine and Pepsi) and then food (Gammon Hock and Pie), all of which was really nice and greatly accompanied by the warm feeling decor. It was also really great to see so many other friendly faces from the estate in there, the potential to be a real community hub was plainly evident.
Because it is a two for one pub, the main emphasis is on food, and apparently normally they are exclusively food, but the management recognises that we need a general pub too, ie somewhere just to go for a drink, therefore the central area are tables where you can just drink. It looks like there will be no standing and drinking like you would get in a “normal” pub, but time will tell, especially with the outside areas in the summer months. I think the management will keep an eye on how the pub is used and will adapt accordingly. There are also kids play areas inside and outside which is good given that many of the residents have young families.
Even though the staff were still finding their way around, the service was really good, out of the 40 staff, 37 of them are local to Kingsway which is great for local employment. I think the true test will be seeing if the high standards they have set out with are still there in 6 months time, but given the investment they have put into it and the potential for the pub to be a regular haunt for the local community, then I think it will be a great asset to Kingsway.
So overall, great pub, good food and service and another great step forward for the estate. It officially opens on Monday so it will be interesting to see what everyone else thinks.