On walking into the recently taken over The Boat & Horses pub in the Rylands you’re instantly made to feel welcome and you can see how much of a hub the place is already. There are posters everywhere advertising something different (in terms of entertainment) for every weekend and night of the week – in their bar, outside with the recently built dedicated burger shack or in their large function room!
1868 is when this pub was founded and there’s elements of its history and the community displayed all over the walls in the main bar.
“I’ve been coming into this pub for the last 40 years and I don’t know any of the faces anymore, there’s so many new people!.”
Jackie, Martin, Neil and Debbie (who you can learn more about in this issue’s I Am Beeston) opened their new venture in March 2023. I caught up with them one eve in July to find out how their first few months have gone.
One of the first things I’m told is that this fab four “…aren’t landlords” and I’m not in a pub, they’re “custodians and it’s a community hub.”
“Great” and “hard work” are the resounding answers from all. Becoming the custodians of the venue has allowed all four of them to bring their own passions and special talents to their community hub.
“We try to include the community in all that we do.” – Martin shares. His wonderfully resourceful wife Jackie tells me; “…we have the space around us and use it to help our community in many different ways.”
You name it and they have probably dabbled in it in the last few months; from your traditional pub activities of live music, karaoke, Sticky 13s, to less obvious things like hosting a monthly night for 50+ Harley Davidson Motorcycle enthusiasts or being a space for a local town council meeting, right through to counselling for veterans suffering with PTSD.
“We’d love to run this pub!” – Martin
“Let’s go in on it together then.” – Neil
The friends spent 5-6 weeks pondering and musing on the idea and what it would mean for their lives and a few weeks later they were writing hand delivered letters to everyone up and down their street introducing themselves and welcoming them to come see the new Boat and Horses. They all signed a beer mat back in January and that sealed the deal, it’s now proudly framed and rightfully so.
There’s always a new project to look out for with this welcoming team. On the agenda at the time of print they’re soon to be hosting a pre-Oxjam event in September and have spent the last few months raising money to have a defibrillator installed in the Rylands and will be playing a part in Light Night once more too.
“I’ve been sitting here drinking my pint in this corner for the past 25 years and I used to just have to listen to me and my friends, now there’s hustle, bustle and a new energy around me.”
One thing that the team is really proud of is that they have managed to keep an ale, a larger and a cider all on draft at an affordable price and I reckon you would be hard pressed to beat their price on those. Why you ask? So that everyone can always afford at least one drink in their lovely surroundings.
Look out for their next events and such on their very active Facebook page –
and seriously book yourselves in for a wonderful Sunday dinner too.