Arusha Group invests with Star at fifth pub

14 September 2021

Arusha Group has taken a substantive lease on The Bear on the Barge at Uxbridge – its third site with Star – as it embarks on a joint £475,000 refurbishment with the pub company. The investment will transform the pub into a great quality, family-friendly bar and restaurant. To signal its new direction and reflect its location on the banks of the Grand Union Canal, the pub will be renamed The River Garden.

Work starts in mid-September and The River Garden is scheduled to open in early December, creating 30 new jobs.

The project will renovate and repaint the building’s exterior, adding a new café-style patio seating 30 at the front. A stretch tent for all-weather eating and drinking and an adult games area are planned for the pub’s 600-seater waterside garden in time for next summer.

A total revamp of the interior will keep all its character whilst upgrading it throughout and making it more contemporary and stylish. The building will be opened up to create additional seating for 50 people. To cater for all occasions it will have separate bar and dining areas as well as a new private dining room. A high-spec £30,000 audio-visual system will allow the site to be further zoned, so that customers can enjoy different experiences. The design will incorporate warm rich colours, velvet and leather upholstery and booth seating. Features such as an open fire and wood floors will be retained and restored.

An overhaul of the kitchen will enable The River Garden to introduce a wide choice of freshly made food. The all-day menu will include traditional pub favourites and a la carte dining. Pizzas – made in the venue’s own wood-fired pizza oven – will be a specialty. The investment will aim to build on the venue’s historic links with canal users. A new barista coffee machine will serve hot drinks throughout the day, and afternoon teas will be offered.

Arusha Group now has five leased pub and bars to the North West of London. Its estate encompasses a variety of large high-volume venues ranging from a traditional community pub to a premium high street cocktail bar. The company plans further expansion in the area. Says Arusha Group co-founder Sandy Bhambra: “Subject to availability of suitable leased sites, I can envisage growing to a group of 10 or more venues. Pub companies own a lot of the best pubs in this area and leasing from them works perfectly for us as we can expand more quickly.”

Star Pubs & Bars area manager James Hulston added: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Arusha Group again and to be investing in such a high-profile site with them. The garden is stunning and has proved a fantastic asset over the pandemic. The investment will premiumise the pub to complement the outdoor space and provide further really solid income streams.”

The refurbishment of The Bear on the Barge is part of Star Pubs & Bars’ 2021 £38m investment programme, which includes 80 major pub makeovers.

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