New owners pump £100,000 into Preston bar and hope others follow their lead to reinvent city centre

A popular Preston pub is preparing to reopen after a £100,000 facelift.

By Catherine Musgrove
Friday, 20th November 2020, 7:08 pm

Barney’s Piano Bar in Church Street has been bought by business partners Anthony Newman and Mark Skeffington.

Neither of the men have experience running a pub, but are confident they have restored the bar to its best and are keen to see the re-invigoration of Church Street.

The new bar area

Anthony, 37, from Longridge, runs an insolvency practice. He said: “We saw the building was for sale and decided to buy it because it has loads of space. At that point we didn’t know what we’d do with it. We were looking at the possibility of offices or flats, but the overwhelming feedback from people was that they wanted to see it as a bar again.”

Just as the sale started to go through in February, the first lockdown happened and the mortgage company pulled out on Anthony and Mark, a property developer from Bamber Bridge

Undeterred, they financed the sale themselves and have ploughed another £100,000 into renovation works.

Anthony said: “Everything’s been gutted. We’ve got the same layout and the same bar, but the old tiles have come off, we’ve sanded down and treated the original flooring, we’ve fully re-plastered and have put all new seating in.

Mark and Anthony hope sports fans flock back

New projectors have been put up, sports channel subscriptions arranged, there is a new darts board and revamped games room.

Anthony added: “Taking on a bar at the moment might surprise people, but we definitely think there’s a good future here. it's always been busy, but not had much love.

"We've had a load of good comments and over 1,000 likes on our Facebook page.

“This area is ripe for investment and we would love to see more cafes and bars at this end of town.”

The new owners have spent £100,000 renovating the premises

Anthony says management will look to put on food at the bar "if it means getting open" when lockdown comes to an end and the country returns to a tiered system of Covid-19 restrictions.

In Tier 3, bars and pubs could only open to serve alcohol if it came with a 'substantial' meal.

He also says he is looking into putting on live music and open mic nights.

Around 12 jobs will be created when the bar is up and running.