Carlos Maidana and Joy Roberts have opened their fourth site in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire – The Oarsman at Marlow – following a £550,000 joint refurbishment with Star Pubs & Bars, which has created more than 20 new jobs.
The pub is the couple’s third with Star Pubs & Bars and is on a 15-year lease. Formerly The Cross Keys, it had been closed for over a year and has been renamed The Oarsman to mark its new direction.
A dramatic redesign has stripped out the inside of the building to create a spacious, comfortable old world bar with real fires and deep leather seating.
The business is wet-led and has an extensive drinks range including 16 pumped beers, 30 craft gins, an eclectic range of premium spirits from around the world and a large wine list, which follows the tradition at Maidana and Roberts other sites of offering more than half of their wines by the glass.
In contrast to the traditional bar, a modern extension on the back of the pub has been converted into an open plan kitchen and 38-cover relaxed dining area opening onto a sun garden with seating for 60. The menu focuses on healthy eating and features light modern classics and plant based options.
The work was overseen by Star Pubs & Bars but undertaken by Maidana and Roberts using their designers and contractors. Says Maidana, “It’s a great partnership. Star are extremely supportive and flexible to work with. As experienced operators, it’s the perfect combination and has given us the opportunity to build up a portfolio of highly individual venues.”
Adds Maidana: “There are very few independent traditional pubs remaining in Marlow’s centre. The Oarsman aims to fill that gap in the market and deliver the exceptional quality that residents demand. It’s a proper meeting place for post and pre-eating at our own or the many other establishments in town. We’ve set out to be equally distinctive with the food. With so many well used gyms in the area and big rowing and cycling communities, we felt there had to be room for an offer that puts healthy but delicious food centre stage.”
Comments Star Pubs & Bars operations director Neil Convery: “Marlow is well known for its excellent bars and restaurants; therefore, any new venue has to be exceptional to succeed.
“Carlos and Joy have done a phenomenal job of bringing their idea and vision to life. The Oarsman brings something really different to the town, and I’m confident the combination of healthy but delicious food and a great range of craft beers and premium drinks will go down well with the people of Marlow.”
Maidana and Roberts’ other venues include The Grouse & Ale at Lane End and Blues Smokehouse in Bracknell with Star Pubs & Bars and a free house – the Yew Tree at Frieth.
Looking to the future, Maidana and Roberts want to create a partnership model to enable their management team to take on their own leased pubs.