The owner of an award-winning community pub is to take over The Stonemasons Arms, just seven months after the Timperley pub’s £270,000 relaunch.
The Stockport Road pub, which was completely transformed into a more upmarket venue last year by brewery Greene King, is to close at the end of trading on Saturday July 7th.
But Simon Delaney, who has run the Firbank Pub & Kitchen in Wythenshawe with his wife Rachael for over two decades, has announced he will be reopening the pub in late August as a “premium community village pub” that he says will be the “beating heart of Timperley”.
He said he’d made the decision to take over the pub “after many weeks of research and lots of hours spent just watching”.
The pub – which was given a complete makeover last year – will undergo a further refurbishment to introduce a more “welcoming”, rustic feel.
Plans include reintroducing drinking-only areas, food ordering at the bar, pavement tables at the front of the pub, children’s play equipment at the back, and the installation of two television screens showing Sky Sports and BT Sports.
“I want a pub where I walk in and I’ll be proud,” he said. “People will get to know me and will see that I’m not downgrading it, just changing it off the track it’s on.
“I have great plans for it. What they will notice very quickly is that my level of service and maintenance is at a very high level. My staff are taught to exceed expectations.”
Asked about the prices, he said: “We will definitely address the prices – over £20 for a bottle of wine is ridiculous, there has to be a house wine.
“At the same time we will be looking to keep it premium, as we want to make sure we keep the right clientele.
“People will still be able to get a restaurant experience, but as I like to say we’ll be serving homemade food as quick as we can, not fast food. All our steaks are locally sourced from a master butcher, for instance.
“The people of Timperley need to have faith in me,” he added. “People have got nothing to worry about. With the support of the people of Timperley we can make it the beating heart of the village.”
The pub will be closed for around six weeks while the refurbishment is carried out.
Greene King will remain the owner of the building and lease the pub to Delaney, who will also retain his involvement with the Firbank.
The Stonemasons’ new landlord hit the headlines two years ago when his current pub, the Firbank, was named Best Community Pub at the prestigious Great British Pub Awards.
Delaney, a former DJ, took over the pub by accident in 1994 to save it from going under.
It has since become a thriving hub of the community and only employs people living in the M22 and M23 postcodes.
The Stonemasons had undergone a high-profile relaunch last year, spearheaded by experienced restaurateurs Steve Pilling and Angus Cameron Pride. Pilling was particularly well-known as the man behind the city centre’s Chop House establishments, as well as Damson Restaurant, La Cantina, Roost and DockYard.
But the new pub did not pull in the expected punters, with some lamenting the high food and drink prices and the degree to which it now resembled more of a restaurant.
We’ve contacted Pilling, Pride and Greene King for a comment on the news.