The Empress pub is under new management with a refurbishment costing over £100K.
The business has now been bought by Sharon and Simon Colgan and they are looking to make it a traditional pub with wide appeal.
Some 20-years ago, Sharon and Simon bought the Blues Bar, nestled on Montpellier in Harrogate. The venue has remained consistently one of the leading live music venues in the town.
When we bought the Blues Bar, we also needed somewhere to live. Even 20-years ago Harrogate was really expensive so we took on the tenancy of the World’s End pub in Knaresborough.
It has continued to go from strength to strength since then, especially after we developed the garden area.
The couple previously took on the Leeds venues, the Duck and Drake and the Grove Inn. Both also known for music and they continue to operate successfully today.
They also owned the West Park Hotel Business for 3-years, which they gave up when the building owners sold the freehold.
But what about the concept and plans for the Empress?
The Empress of old had become a little tired and was in desperate need a big makeover. It had a big following for its Sunday roasts, but custom had dropped off at other times.
The building itself is a substantial two-floor, stone property in a prominent location. Downstairs is a large bar with two main seating areas – that layout will stay the same. Upstairs is a function room that will be made larger and managers flat. It’s all being taken back to a shell and being refitted.
We are going to bring it back as a traditional pub. There will be pub games nights, live music and food. The menu will be just fresh and wholesome.
Upstairs we have a function room that is a great space. That will be for functions, but also other events – we already have Zumba booked in.
It will be dog friendly too and there will be Sunday lunches!
Having both the financial investment and the expertise of Sharon and Simon Colgan is a potent mix for turning the pub around.
Pubs have struggled to gain the footfall in recent years, with many pubs in Harrogate closing, such as the Skipton on the Skipton road and the Mile Post on the Leeds Road, to name two. It is well acknowledged that people’s drinking habits have changed, with many more choosing to drink at home. But how much has also been down to the pubs not offering an environment that people want to be in ?
Being a traditional pub with food and music will tick a lot of boxes for many.
The venue will re-open at the end of October 2017.