Kenilworth pub aims to expand community outreach after merger with local brewery
By James Smith
12th Feb 2022 | Local News
A Kenilworth pub is looking to expand its community involvement following its merger with a local brewery.
The Ale Rooms joined forces with Leicester-based Framework Brewery and three other venues last October to form the Framework Pub Company.
Following a makeover and re-launch in November, the Smalley Place pub is now hoping to get involved with community projects in Kenilworth.
As it looks to host more events, the pub also wants local clubs and societies to make the most of its refurbished upstairs bar area during the week.
"Sunday to Wednesday that space is available if clubs and societies want to use it, free of charge - we want this to be a real community space," said Framework Pub Company CEO Richard Owen.
"There doesn't need to be a regular commitment, but equally if a group wanted it, say, every first Monday of the month we can arrange that.
"If people have charitable stuff they want to do in there, we would love to get involved and support it. Equally, if mums want to meet other mums for a coffee and bring their kids in the day, that's great, or if local businesses just want to hang out and meet up, then come on down.
"Anything goes and we'd be happy to look after anyone."
Over the weekends the upstairs will be fully staffed and open as a wine bar, to offer something slightly different to downstairs.
The Ale Rooms is also looking to sponsor a local sports team, like its sister branch in Knowle.
"It is all about getting involved with local people; this being a community pub is exactly what we want to do," Richard added.
"Sponsorship, sure there clearly there is a commercial aspect, but most of all it is a great chance for us to support local initiatives and local people doing things."
New bar manager Dan Read came on board in November as the pub planned its re-launch for the night of the Kenilworth Christmas light switch on.
Whilst there was the disappointment of that being cancelled, Dan has already started to make changes, including decorating the pub with paintings from local artist Jan Norrish.
"We really wanted to get someone local to display their work," he said.
"Her artwork is really different, really striking.
"It has been in place for a month and she has already sold three paintings, so it has been great so far."
On the commercial side the pub has also installed more real ale lines and now offers the widest range of independent ales and craft beer in Kenilworth with seven handpulls, five keg lines and a soon to be installed real cider tap wall. The Ale Rooms is also looking to upscale its wine and spirits range.
As well as live music, and events like the Six Nations, food has also returned on selected nights, with pie and pint nights on Wednesdays and pizza nights Thursday and Friday. There are plans to increase the food offering in the summer.
And the owners are pleased with how things have progressed so far.
"I came in the other day for a quiet drink and I'd never seen the place so buzzing," added Richard.
"We already have a lot of regulars and there is a great vibe here, so let's keep that going."