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Ironbridge celebrates launch and re-launch of local pubs

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Following months of refurbishment interspersed with two floods and a virus pandemic, Ironbridge is celebrating the launch and re-launch of two local pubs.

Pictured outside the Water Rat Inn Ironbridge are Alex Nicoll and Manager Lee Howard
Pictured outside the Water Rat Inn Ironbridge are Alex Nicoll and Manager Lee Howard

Last week saw the popular eatery The White Hart Inn, located on the Wharfage, re-open following earlier floods and a subsequent make-over, and now the all-new Water Rat Inn, formerly the much-loved Meadow Inn – has finally opened their new terrace doors following a huge £200,000 makeover, which has included not just a brand-new bar and restaurant interior but kitchens, car park, gardens, internal electrics and plumbing systems.

Following extensive product testing and training of the team over recent days, not just in service standards and product knowledge but in managing safe distancing and uber cleaning work practices, aimed at exceeding Government safety guidelines post-COVID-19.

Restaurateur Alex Nicoll commented:

“After a long four and half months of floods and virus pandemics as of this coming weekend Ironbridge is officially and fully open for business and I’m very pleased to report that the new pub in the Village the Water Rat Inn, following a £200,000 investment will play an important part at the entrance to historic Ironbridge; with its new interior and expanded gardens down to the river the business reflects the owners long term confidence in the village and its future as an important and popular visitor destination.

“Our second pub in the heart of the village, The White Hart is also able to play its part in that re-launch of the area and we can proudly say that Ironbridge is re-open for business.”

Name Change

The name change from Meadow Inn to Water Rat Inn has divided opinions locally, so Alex explains the change:

“When starting such a big and transformative the name came up for discussion; as we began to clear the lower gardens and reveal more of the river and willow trees nearby it brought in mind the idea of connecting the Pub more to its natural habitat – the riverbank. ‘Ratty’ from Kenneth Grahams’ Wind in the Willows is very much the solid and sensible one; bringing the troublesome Toad back to his friends and generally keeping the peace. I think locals will soon get used to the new name and new look – it really is nothing like the Meadow Used to be, other than the stunning location, river views and extensive gardens – ideal for social distancing!” explains Alex.”

The interior of the Water Rat Inn, Ironbridge
The interior of the Water Rat Inn, Ironbridge

Jobs Created

The two pubs have created ten new jobs in the area, retaining eight of the original staff from the Meadow Inn, with more returning to both pubs from the Government Furlough scheme.

Track and Trace

Both venues have created state-of-the-art Track and Trace systems on their websites to register for anyone wishing to just call in for a drink, and dining bookings are encouraged via their easy-to-use on-line booking portals.

Head Chef Kyle Myatt and team offer a fresh ‘pub food’ plus menu featuring little tapas dishes to pub favourites steaks and specials – just what we’ve all been missing these last months.

New Opening Times

For the summer period they will be open Wednesday to Sunday each week – from 11am offering a daily fresh menu from noon to 8pm.

They are currently taking parties of up to 6 in the pub. The function room also had a makeover and will be open later in the year for bookings.

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