Previously a Wetherspoons which traded as the Forest House, the new look Brewhouse Kitchen on love street opens on Monday. The new owners operate 15 other pubs across the country and have splashed out on an extensive refurbishment of the Grade II listed building. The building was originally the home of the 18th century Barnston family and was the biggest house in Chester at the time with lands extending down towards the river before Grosvenor Park was established. The surviving wing has had many different uses over the years from shops, co-ops to nightclub and pubs. ..
Manager Dan Grist is excited about the new look pub. “We closed at the end of July and the builders descended on the place! We tried to keep as much as we could, there are bits of furniture dotted around you might recognise. They put in the brewery for us, fitted out the bar and given it a new lease of life really!
“The food, the bar, the service is different from Wetherspoons” he says. “The products we sell are not found very often in bars in town. I don’t think you’ll find Whitstable Stout in many of them, or Beavertown Gamma Ray- we’re the only brand outside of London that sells it on keg. Tongolo, the world’s best beer, its only available in Chester here as far as I know of. The brands that we go for fit the pub and the people that we want to come into the pub”. The pub offers a number of Chester themed beers, from Deva Victrix, Midnight Curfew, Golden Boy in honour of Michael Owen and the Russ Abbot themed “Mad House”.
He says that the environment will be more relaxed than The Forest House and there will not be a dance floor on a Saturday night. “We are going to have a DJ but its going to be more funk, soul, the tables will remain. We want to encourage an atmosphere not discourage it, but the chances of having hen and stag parties getting drunk on Sambuca are slim!
We are going to have live music every Friday, we have our first two booked and we are also looking at having a mobile phone quiz night. On Thursdays we have a Brewery night:
“We have our own head brewer on site. He has worked for Brimstage Brewery for the last 4 years so he knows what he’s doing . The core range has been selected, he will brew his own recipe for them. So we want a red rye ale at 4.7%, we want this one, and so on.. he will maybe put a twist to each one. The best thing about having a brewer on sight is that he can listen to your guests . He can tweek the recipe, his store will be full of malts and hops..
“We do Beer master classes and brewey experience days for those that are interested in beer and how its made. We categorise beers into 8 categories and you will go through each one, trying beers that will open your mind. You will chat to our beer specialist or our brewer and they will bring you nibbles and you’ll have a really good time. ” The full day brewers experience will run from 10 in the morning including breakfast and lunch and guests will be shown and get involved in the brewing process in detail. “Its a fun day, something that you can’t really get anywhere else.” says Dan.
The head chef of the pub , Sam Bremner transferred from Wetherspoons having worked for the company for 12 years. In contrast to Wetherspoons he told me that “all the food on the menu is fresh, we cook everything on site.” The kitchen will be open 12 til 10 (9 on Sundays.) “We moved the kitchen from the top floor to the ground level so its easier for communication purposes. We use a heated lift to send food down to the cellar bar.” Its offer is different with table service and a more relaxed feel says Sam . “We make our own beers on site, we also sell our own beers to pubs around Chester if they want them. Its relaxed, the food is casual dining but its good food made well. There’s a lot of experience in my kitchen team, everyone who worked for Wetherspoons had the option to come over, but we have also recruited.”
Concludes Dan : “I cannot wait, I want to get some guests through the door! I was with Wetherspoons in this site before so I know it very well. Some of the team have transferred over as well. I feel like we’re making better use of the space and the building now.”
Brewhouse and Kitchen on Love street opens on Monday