The new owners of a Preston bar are putting £750,000 into a big city-style transformation.
David Holt and business partner Darren Cooper had been looking for premises in the city centre, and made the move to buy the former SoBar in Avenham Street after sitting across from it in Angelo’s restaurant last year.
David, 39, said: “We bought it last November but we had two other projects on. In the past four months we’ve really knuckled down on this.
“It was in a mess, it hadn’t had money spent on it for 25 to 30 years.
“There were false ceilings everywhere, so we’ve taken it back to brick, we’ve dug down to the basement and gone deeper than that. We’ve completely re-jigged it.
“It’s a huge undertaking. With the purchase price as well, it’s a £750,000 investment.
“We’ve gone to town on it, and it will look very high-end. It’s fundamentally a pub, but it will have a city centre, quality bar feel.
“The prices won’t reflect the high-end feel though, we won’t be charging £10 for a pint, it will still be very reasonable.”
David, owner of Holt Pub Company, said the interior will have an “organic” feel, with exposed brick, steel and copper.
The bar will also feature timber reclaimed from the bar during renovations.
The toilets have been moved into a basement area to allow for additional floor space, there will be a first floor mezzanine looking down on a dance floor, and a ‘Secret Garden’ area.
On the top floor will be offices for David and Darren, who also own several other pubs across the North West.
David believes Preston city centre’s future is rosy, justifying the investment.
He said: “Preston got city status a while ago, but it never really had a city feel. I think in the next two to three years, you will begin to feel it.
“There’s a lot of investment being made and we want to be one of the first guys there in this first phase.
“We’re both Preston lads and it’s a good place to be.”
He added: “We hope that it will be somewhere different for people to go, somewhere that feels classy after you’ve been out for something to eat.
“We’re not really aiming at the student, switch market, but everyone will be welcome through our doors, and we will have a 3.30am licence.”
An opening date for the bar has not been announced, but David said he is keen not to rush the refurbishment work.
Around 20 full and part-time jobs will be created at the venue.