Fine and Country Inns has reopened The Masons Arms in Thorpe Hesley as a quality traditional pub specialising in outstanding food following a £430,000 investment with Star Pubs & Bars. The Masons Arm is Fine and Country Inn’s eighth venue in its estate and its second pub with Star Pubs & Bars.
The Masons Arms’ new direction meets local demand for a pub serving great food and will enable it to capitalise on trade from visitors to nearby Wentworth Woodhouse stately home.
The outside area has been creatively designed with new signage and soft LED lighting. A stunning new al fresco area has been added including seating for around 100 people and three beach huts equipped with heating, lighting and phone chargers.
On the inside the pub has been completely refurbished in a contemporary way whilst being sympathetic to the pub’s traditional architecture. There is new panelled walling and original features – including old brickwork, a fireplace and a fabulous bay window – have been revealed. In celebration of the community, Gary has dedicated two areas to its past, creating the Wentworth and Thorpe Hesley rooms, which display old photographs and memorabilia. “The pub dates back to 1878, so it has seen a lot of village history,” explains Gary.
An enlarged and refitted kitchen will enable The Masons Arms to focus on food, with the menu ranging from traditional pub favourites to modern British cuisine. A barista-quality coffee machine has been installed, and the pub will serve afternoon coffees, teas and cakes. The cellar has also been completely revamped and SmartDispense put in. Craft and cask ales are now a speciality, and Fine and Country Inns will be seeking Cask Marque accreditation in order to add local beers through Star’s partnership with SIBA.
Fine and Country Inns is committed to further expansion in Yorkshire and neighbouring northern counties. With a 40/60 wet / dry sales split, the company is interested in rural, suburban and village pubs which have the potential to be developed into food destination venues.
Fine and Country Inns chief executive Gary Hunt said: “We have no upper limit or barrier to growth, we are simple considering every opportunity on its merits. Whilst leaseholds have allowed us to expand more quickly, we are now looking for both leasehold and freehold venues, as freeholds will create long-term investment value in the group. We are also currently working on an amazing six-bedroom boutique hotel with a fine dining restaurant and a trendy bistro wine bar so this will open up opportunities for us in the hotel sector.
“It is great to be building a relationship with Star – both of us are investing large amounts of money to create great venues for people to enjoy.”
Mick Howard, Star Pubs & Bars Operations Director for the North said: “Fine and Country Inns are both superb pub and business operators with the highest of standards. Their attention to detail and vision are phenomenal, and we are delighted to be working with them.”