Entries in pub (3)
This is the way most tall stories begin, with the teller, glass in hand, propping up the bar of the village pub. Or in this case, seated by the fire, regaling a squirrel with Wealden tales. A squirrel?
We are in the bar of the Bell, a soon to re-open pub with rooms in the pretty village of Ticehurst, East Sussex. Well, at least I think we are. Where has that chap gone?
Anyway, I meet a lovely young couple, Alison & Sebastien who will be running the place, and they take me on a tour of the as yet unfinished premises. As well the large beamed bar with its welcoming fireplace, there's a quaint little snug, a vast dining space converted from the former stables, with a grand function room above, and 7 delightful bedrooms. The look, developed by Brighton based designer, Richard Brett will be a quirky mix of old and new.
At the end of the tour, I nip off to the loo, and it's then that I realise I must be dreaming the whole thing.
Or was I? Nutkin tells me it opens on November 5th... apparently!
Just down the road from the Barnsley, is the Village Pub, which is owned by the hotel, and has just undergone complete refurbishment by interior designers, Fox Linton. The feel of a cosy village local has been maintained, with the pub broken up into a series of connected rooms, each with a fireplace at its heart. People seldom refer to "Saloon" or "Public Bar" anymore, but that is no doubt how the different rooms would have been labelled in the past. The designers have cleverly updated the pub genre, with a pared back sophistication. The dining room is almost Shaker in its simplicity, while the space in front of the bar is firmly in cosy pub style.
The most original, but absolutely suitable aspect of the design, is the use of heavy sacking material for the curtains and wall coverings, while the decorative copper pots and horse shoes underline the pub's rustic heritage.
The pub also has bedrooms which are about to undergo similar updating. I look forward to seeing the results in the new year.