Admiral pumps more than half a million pounds into refurbs

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Capital expenditure: Admiral invests more than £500k into pub makeovers (image: Getty/georgeclerk)
Capital expenditure: Admiral invests more than £500k into pub makeovers (image: Getty/georgeclerk)

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Chester-based pub company Admiral Taverns has ploughed £576,000 into refurbishing a trio of pubs.

The Millhouse in Dustan Park, Berkshire has received a £177,000 makeover and reopened on 14 July.


It has benefitted from new flooring and seating alongside a new sports area and pool table in addition to a refurbished garden with different lighting, furniture and an enclosed children’s playground.

Guests will be treated to a rolling schedule of events such as live music evenings, a pool and darts league as well as charity quiz nights. Its food offer includes vegan and gluten-free options alongside a dedicated children’s menu.

The Blue Ball in Kintbury, also in Berkshire received a £161,000 refurbishment and reopened its doors this month (12 August).


Pubgoers were welcomed back with a weekend of entertainment while the venue itself has undergone a complete internal and external refurbishment including a garden space that featured new seating, heaters and lighting. The menu at the pub offers classics such as burgers and pasta.

Both Berkshire pubs are run by Mike and Kelly Ohlin. Mike has been at the Millhouse of 18 months and at the Blue Ball for a year.

Brilliant transformations

On the refurbs, he said: “I am so delighted to have reopened the Millhouse and the Blue Ball to their communities and showcase these brilliant transformations.

“The results look fantastic and the feedback we’ve had so far has been great. Having worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years, I’m confident both pubs will be important pillars of their communities, bringing people together.”

Admiral business development manager Troy Bett was thrilled with the investment projects at the two sites.

He added: “The results look amazing and will ensure both pubs sit at the heart of the communities.

“We’re continually investment into our pubs across the UK and strongly believe in the importance of offering local communities the resources they need to bring people together.

“Mike brings both experience and charisma and I wish him every success for the future.”

The third pub to receive a recent investment was the Grapes in Melksham, which also reopened earlier this month (10 August) after a £238,000 makeover.


Part of Admiral’s Proper Pubs arm, the site has received a transformation and now has a brand-new look with fresh décor.

Business thriving

Inside, there is a new bar, flooring and furniture throughout while the terrace garden has been renovated with new lighting, heaters and a canopy in a bid to create an inviting experience all year round. Opening night featured live music while the rest of the weekend showed live sporting events.

Operator Antoni Pearce described opening night as fantastic and lauded seeing customers old and new coming to the pub while praising the “amazing” feedback from guests.

MP Michelle Donelan added: “Following huge investment and major refurbishment, supported by Admiral Taverns, the Grapes has reopened in Melksham.

“[It’s] great to see another local business thriving in our town and I look forward to popping into the pub for a drink over the summer.”

The pub has a variety of drink offers such as cocktails, wine and fizz promotions alongside a full Sky Sports package.

It also hosts an annual schedule of events for the community including regular quiz and karaoke nights.


Furthermore, the pub will be raising money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and to have a defibrillator installed on site.

Proper Pubs operations director Matthew Gurney said: “The refurbishment at the Grapes looks fantastic – the team have worked really hard to ensure it is a success for the local community.

“On behalf of the Proper Pubs team, we would like to wish our community hero, Antoni, every success for the future in making the Grapes a fantastic hub of the community.”

Admiral said investing in its pubs through capital expenditure is part of the company’s strategy.

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