Knox Arms to increase capacity to capitalise on ‘casual dining’ revolution

Star Pubs & Bars, Heineken’s pub business, is jointly investing £130K with local pub operator, Jess Prest, in a transformational pub refurbishment of the Knox Arms in Harrogate to cater for the growing demand for casual pub dining and to increase capacity for drinkers.

Work on The Knox Arms in Harrogate commences on 14 July 2014. The pub will close at 9pm straight after the World Cup final and will re-open around the second week in August.



Business at The Knox Arms has plateaued and further investment is required to grow the business further. The pub is upping its game, improving its offer and creating more space so diners and drinkers can enjoy the best of both worlds without the experience of either being compromised.

A former farm house and 300 year old farm building, the pub hasn’t been refitted since 2000. It became a pub 30 years ago when the farmland was turned into a housing estate and is reminiscent of the 80’s. As a result of the investment The Knox Arms will become two pubs in one, one side for diners and one for drinkers, with access between the two. The existing features of the building will be accentuated, such as its arched stable window which is being opened up to allow light to flood in. Whilst remaining sympathetic to the building’s character, the design and furnishings will help to create a more female friendly environment.

Lessee, Jacqui Prest said: Lots of pubs in the area have been closing down, yet there are people in the area wanting somewhere local to go.

We’re still here because we have always had the highest standards in the area, are friendly and trouble free. What has held us back is the building, which has become tired.

There is lots of choice to eat and drink in Harrogate itself. We want to give the people of HG1 somewhere to enjoy themselves without having to go into town. I think the best way to describe what we’ve got in store is trendy meets traditional.

The fitted seating in the former drinker’s bar is being removed to be replaced with whacky furniture and high tables with suspended lights above.

The refurbishment is part of a £1m investment by Star Pubs & Bars upgrading Yorkshire pubs in 2013 and 2014 to enable them to exploit the opportunities offered by serving good quality food in a relaxed environment.

Chris Jowsey, trading director at Star Pubs & Bars said: The Knox Arms is run by Jacqui, an experienced operator with high standards and an understanding of what her customers want, which has made it successful. She recognises the need to review, refine and continue to invest in the pub to keep it current and attract customers in an increasingly competitive market.

It is no longer enough to open the doors and expect customers to come to you – it is all about raising the bar, giving customers that bit extra and offering them the very best.



Providing good quality food in an attractive environment is criticial for the long term success of pubs like The Knox Arms. It is no longer a nice to have, consumers expect it and will vote with their feet.

Heinekan is passionate about beer and cider quality about service and the quality of pubs so we’re delighted to be investing to help entrepreneurs like Jamie and Jacqui realise their visions and create great pubs with long term sustainable futures.


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