The new owner of The Stonemasons Arms in Timperley has called on local people to give the pub a chance as it gets ready for its second relaunch in a year this Thursday.
The Stockport Road pub has been given a complete facelift and will be reopened by Simon Delaney and wife Rachael – the award-winning owners of the Firbank Pub & Kitchen in Wythenshawe – having taken it over back in June.
The Greene King pub had been given a high-profile makeover last year by experienced restaurateurs Steve Pilling and Angus Cameron Pride, but it struggled to attract the punters, with many claiming it had become too much like a restaurant.
Delaney said he has turned it back into a proper pub and claimed “if this was my local I would be very, very happy”.
The latest reopening has been delayed by a couple of months by legal matters and building delays but customers will discover a completely changed pub.
It’s been redecorated throughout, with almost all new furniture and new carpet and curtains. A children’s play area has been added at the back and an outside seating area added for the first time at the front, with hanging baskets reintroduced. It’s also dog-friendly.
Inside, new features include a woodburner and three television screens for showing sport – but Delaney insisted it would retain a premium, family-orientated feel.
“I believe that at the moment this pub looks the best it’s ever looked,” he said. “We’re not downgrading as a restaurant, we’re just recategorising it. We’ve turned it back into a pub but it’ll be still be a great place for food, drink and customer service. We’ll still make people feel very welcome.
“They got it wrong before – if they’d made it clear it was a restaurant and not a pub it probably would have worked.
“We’re now a pub with style – it has a premium feel about it. It’s not what you would call a ‘boozer’. We’re a pub that can continue to serve this community.”
The pub is having a drinks-only opening evening on Thursday from 6pm, and will open properly for food and drink from noon on Friday. It will be open seven days a week from then on.
One of the most obvious changes will be the prices – the menu is “very affordable”, said Delaney, with a bottle of wine from £13 and a pint of cask ale from £2.80.
Beer will include Timothy Taylors, Robinsons’ Dizzy Blonde, Greene King IPA, Fosters, Heineken and Birra Moretti.
But he added: “It’s a pub where you can come in and just have coffee if you want – we’ll be serving fantastic coffee that’s cheaper than Costa – and you don’t have to come in and have a pint of lager.”
Over 20 staff have been recruited locally for the opening, and Delaney asked people to give him time to get it right.
“If this was my local I would be very, very happy, ” he added. “If anything goes wrong, let me know so I can deal with it.
“I’ve had 30 years in the business and I’m doing it my way. We’re drawing a line in the sand here. People are not my customers, they’re my guests. I want people to walk through the door and be my friends.”