Family's quiet ambition for renovation of local
A FAMILY has taken on a troubled pub in the middle of Bedminster and has promised to turn it around.
The historic London Inn has been closed since April but the Holden family, which owns a number of pubs in Bristol, has taken on the local.
The family, who are also builders, specialise in buying closed and derelict pubs and revamping them.
Other pubs they own include the Velindra in Redcliffe and the Albion in Bedminster.
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Even though traditional locals have been badly hit by the recession and smoking ban, the Holden family believe there is a demand for well-run and well looked-after pubs.
Before it closed the London Inn had suffered problems with late-night noise and fighting, which led to several complaints from local residents.
Police had also raided the place on several occasions looking for suspected drug dealers.
But the family have promised to get rid of the rowdy element and turn the London Inn into a friendly local.
The Holden family specialise in buying unloved Victorian pubs at rock-bottom prices and restoring them to their former glory. The venture will be their seventh in Bristol.
Oliver Holden will be running the pub as well as managing the nearby Albion Inn.
His father John Holden said: "We had been looking to buy the London Inn because it is exactly the sort of place we like to invest in.
"The pub is a bit of a landmark in the Bedminster area and has been around for a long time. Sadly in recent years it had gained something of a reputation and we want to make it clear that we will not be returning to that sort of pub.
"We want to attract a family crowd and the aim is to run a friendly and relaxed place. We like the idea of running an old-fashioned local where people can come out for a relaxing drink in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere."
The family have spent months renovating the pub and are now ready to open the doors to the public.
John said; "Everybody knows that the trade is struggling but by doing all the work ourselves and keeping things in the family we can keep costs down. We also have a lot of experience in running pubs and we know what people like. It has been a struggle but we are persistent and we have finally got the London Inn ready.
"This is a very important historic pub, which is known across south Bristol and it was a real shame when it closed.
"We acquired the pub in middle summer and it needed a lot of restoration work.
"We have sympathetically brought it back to virtually its original build condition.
"The building has a unique period appearance, with a turret, looking down East street and its position straddling the junction of West Street and North Street makes it quite unique.
"We know the pub has had a very chequered past but our intentions is to bring this pub back to the local people in Bedminster.
"We do not planning to have any karaoke nights or loud late-night music.
"What we are moving towards is a quiet local where people would be quite happy to come with their family."
The renovation includes a secure, heated smoking area at the rear.
The family say there has been a pub on the same spot for more than 400 years and the London will reopen for business on Friday night.