A much-loved Buckinghamshire village pub reopened on Thursday 1st June 2023 following a £240,000 revamp.
The overhaul of The Horse & Jockey at Tylers Green has been undertaken by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and licensee Alex van Someren. It has upgraded the historic pub into a great quality traditional village local and introduced affordable pub grub.
The reopening marks Alex’s first anniversary as licensee of The Horse & Jockey. Alex formerly ran The Squirrel at Penn Street until her lease expired in spring 2022.
Alex said: ‘The Horse & Jockey had only been open intermittently over the previous four years and a number of its customers had moved to The Squirrel. When they heard I was looking for a new pub, they asked me to take over The Horse & Jockey. It was shut at the time, and they were fearful for its future. They even banded together and helped clean the pub and tidy the garden. Since then, local residents have supported me every step of the way, and people tell me The Horse & Jockey is the busiest it has been in 40 years. It’s fantastic to be able to thank everyone for their backing with this refurbishment.
I fell in the love with The Horse & Jockey as soon as I walked in. It’s my ideal pub – a beautiful old building in a lovely part of the world with a welcoming community around it. It looks gorgeous now the work has been done. It’s so exciting to be finally opening the doors and showing everyone the changes.‘
The external works have carefully renovated the outside of The Horse & Jockey, painting it pale grey and installing new lighting, signage and planting to bring out all its character. There is an area of smart new seating for 50 at the front and an enclosed 50-seater garden, complete with new decking and lantern lighting, at the rear.
The investment has also refurbished the inside of the pub throughout, making it more comfortable and welcoming, whilst keeping all its quaintness and charm. The new décor incorporates heritage colours on the walls as well as new upholstery, carpets and lighting that complement the building’s age. The pub’s distinctive horseshoe-shaped bar, cosy nooks, old beams and open fire have all been retained along with its collection of horse brasses. To add to the history, Alex has made a display of pictures of the pub and the area through the ages.
A kitchen refit is enabling Alex to introduce food to The Horse & Jockey. The menu, served at lunchtimes and evenings, will focus on pub favourites, such as ham, egg and chips, sausages and mash and Sunday roasts. Alex stresses that The Horse & Jockey is ‘not becoming a restaurant’ and, in line with the wishes of regulars and residents, will remain an old-fashioned local where a friendly atmosphere and great quality beer and drinks are the priority. To that end, Alex has invested in state-of-the-art dispense equipment for the cellar to ensure consistently perfect pints and is seeking Cask Marque accreditation for the pub’s cask ale selection.
Customers four-legged friends have not been forgotten, either. The Horse & Jockey is dog-friendly, offering bowls of water, free dog treats and an outside water barrel.
Andrew Downie, Area Manager for Star Pubs & Bars, said: ‘Alex has put her all into The Horse & Jockey over the past 12 months, focusing on what the community wants and bringing in a quiz, darts and live music. It’s no surprise people who hadn’t been in for years, in addition to a host of new customers, have become regulars. Alex has done a tremendous job of reviving the pub’s fortunes, turning it into thriving, popular local even before the investment. The Horse & Jockey has a fantastic new look to match, and I’ve every confidence that, with Alex at the helm, it will continue to go from strength to strength.‘
The Horse & Jockey is believed originally to have been three cottages that were converted into a pub in 1844. It was initially named The Horse & Groom.
*Source of information : Press release supplied on behalf of Star Pubs & Bars by Lucy Hall PR.