Previously a notorious drinking den with a nefarious clientele, the former Nag’s Head shut its doors in 2012 with a warning from the local police that it would never open again as a pub, but the Horans saw its potential – and the need in the city centre for a safe, pleasant, friendly pub - so together with Punch launched a 300k refurbishment which has resulted in a light, airy, contemporary welcoming space. All the best bits have been kept – the wood floors and Edwardian tiles, and some smart additions including an attractive decked exterior space area at the rear – a great place to sit on a good day.
From a standing start they’re turning over an impressive amount a week and the once-derelict old boozer is now an impressive pub and an attractive, modern meeting place for all ages.
Live music is a big draw – the Sunday Northern Soul nights are particularly well attended - as is the quiz night, and Wednesdays in Wonderland offers a quaint afternoon tea with vintage crockery and tiny bites.
When it comes to the future, the couple are planning to cook and serve BBQ food on the terrace – and develop the empty space next door and above the pub; a bar with bedrooms perhaps?
Judge Mandy Wragg said: “This great pub on one of Lancaster’s most historic and attractive streets has been given the make-over of its life; despite the local constabulary’s prediction this former derelict old boozer welcomes all ages with no small amount of contemporary style.
“Out have gone the sticky carpets and nicotine ceilings; instead, original Edwardian floor tiles and parquet flooring have been scrubbed up, and blonde, Scandi-esque furniture installed. With real ale, crowd-pleasing food and live music at the weekend, the good people of Lancaster have got their local back.”