Derbyshire multiple operator takes on first leased pub

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Exciting plans: BKJ Leisure hopes to transform the Hurt Arms into a top wedding venue
Exciting plans: BKJ Leisure hopes to transform the Hurt Arms into a top wedding venue

Related tags Public house Inn

BKJ Leisure will conduct a £1m revamp of its first leased pub, the Hurt Arms, Ambergate, Derbyshire, in partnership with Star Pubs & Bars with a view to creating a top-quality country inn and wedding venue.

The Hurt Arms, just outside Belper and around 10 miles north of Derby, is the first leased venture from BKJ Leisure - the multiple operator behind country hotel and wedding venue the White Hart at Moorwood Moor and the Horse & Jockey country inn and hotel at Wessington.

The £1m in funds will be spent on transforming the 19th century site, which will feature exposed metalwork, reclaimed wood panelling and industrial lighting.

Also the refurbished Hurt Arms will benefit from doubled seating capacity in an expanded restaurant, increasing from 60 to 120 covers, as well as an 80-seat function room - the Tollgate suite, named after the toll house and gate that adjoined to the Hurt Arms in the 1870s – as well as six boutique, en-suite bedrooms.

Unique potential

BJK Leisure general manager Luke Richards said: “The location of the Hurt Arms is second to none, nestled in the Ambergate valley and overlooking the village cricket club. When the lease came up, we leapt at the opportunity to take it on because we could see its potential as a unique country inn and an outstanding wedding venue. 

“It’s been a new experience working with a partner as we normally do everything ourselves.  We’ve had great input from the Star team and have been really interested in their ideas. Hopefully, this will be the first of a number of projects because we want to continue to expand with more properties throughout Derbyshire.” 

As part of the improvements, the pub's kitchen will undergo extensive work to allow the Hurt Arms to open for breakfast, all-day barista-style coffee, gastropub-quality food featuring fresh local produce and a Sunday carvery.

To complement this, the Hurt Arms will offer a diverse drinks selection from premium lagers such as Birra Moretti, Amstel and Heineken to local craft ales including Thornbridge, Amber Ales and Dancing Duck as well as an extensive gin and cocktail menu.

Harnessing local knowledge

Star Pub & Bars regional operations director David Pritchard said: “It’s great news that a company with BKJ Leisure’s track record, reputation and local knowledge has taken on the Hurt Arms.  

"Their experience together with the investment will transform it.  I look forward to seeing the BJK Leisure team put their exciting plans into practice and make the Hurt Arms the best pub in the area.”

The pub will also host a broad range of events upon reopening, including community quiz nights, regular live music and entertainment – including a comedy club – as well as a monthly classic car club during the summer months.

Related topics Star Pubs & Bars

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