New lease of life for the Fountain inn in Gloucester
HISTORIC city centre pub The Fountain Inn has been given a new lease of life as 23-year-old Ben McCullough prepares to take on the boozer.
Mr McCullough, and his partner Liz Jones, also 23, will officially take the reins as landlord and landlady on Friday.
But the pair already have visions of restoring the Westgate Street pub's historic city centre links by displaying Kingsholm rugby memorabilia and other items celebrating Gloucester's history on its walls.
Mr McCullough first clapped eyes on the pub in 2008 when he became the manager. He said: "I always liked the vibe it had. It has a good atmosphere and the people who come here are nice.
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"It is a pub that needs a bit of a kick up the backside to get it back to being a simple, old fashioned popular city centre boozer."
The pub is already well known for its wide selection of West Country ales – and Mr McCullough said they will be at the heart of his plan.
He said: "There's one important thing to remember when it comes to ale – keep them well. If you do that people will come back simply because of the ales. That's what we want to achieve."
His takeover of the venue comes just a week after the previous landlady Joy Rust retired.
In the same week neighbouring pub The Union, also on Westgate Street, shut its doors after landlord Richard White and his business partner Matt Foster struggled to cope with business rates and rent payments.
Enterprise Inns, which own both of the pubs, said they are confident of finding a new tenant for The Union within the next few weeks.
Amy Dolphin, a spokeswoman for the pub chain, said: "We recognise that The Union has the potential to be a great city centre pub which appeals to residents and shoppers alike, and we are actively recruiting for someone with the enthusiasm and drive to take the business forward."
On Saturday night the pub was reopened temporarily and was very busy with customers.
Nicky Wildin, owner of StanMan's Kitchen, which is located opposite the pub, said: "We understand it is being used on the weekends to hold parties but it isn't fully reopened yet."
Mum-of-three Janet Winslow, from Abbeymead, who was shopping in Westgate Street yesterday, said: "I hope whoever takes it on makes it into a nicer place to go. It's never really looked very welcoming if you just want a few drinks in the city centre without getting off your face."