Couple all set to open new bar venture in Sleaford

An old Sleaford pub premises is to get a new lease of life after a lengthy period of closure thanks to a couple just starting out in a new venture.

Watergate Yard. EMN-180627-093005001
Watergate Yard. EMN-180627-093005001

Ryan and Hollie Blankley, who previously ran Bar 51 in Sleaford, have taken on the former Rose and Crown premises on Watergate.

The old sign has been removed from the historic, 300 year-old building and gifted to the former landlady and it has been rebranded as Watergate Yard as part of the revamp.

After a month of refurbishments since acquiring the property, with help from friends, they open at 6pm this Friday evening.

Ryan and Hollie Blankley. New proprietors of the Watergate Yard. EMN-180627-093233001

Hollie said: “The look will be less industrial than Bar 51, more vintage with a modern twist.”

This includes stylish grey tiles and paintwork behind the bar, brass pipe light fittings, retro wallpaper in art deco style and chunky tables and chairs. She said: “It’s a real mix. The colours really complement each other.”

The garden area they feel is a key feature too, with beer barrel tables and a tin ‘shack’ shelter.

Hollie said: “This time we have absolute freedom to be able to do what we want and we are really sure of our choices. The garden has come together beautifully. I think it will change the dynamic of our business. There isn’t an outside space like it in Sleaford, it feels such an oasis of calm.”

They will be bringing back their wide selection of gins and ales and there will be some free canapes for the opening night to reflect the new menu.

They have employed two new chefs - Stefan and Adam who, they say, are putting together a small, but developing menu while they explore the newly fitted kitchen space. The business now has a staff team of 12 ready for the grand opening.

The full menu will launch on Saturday from 10am with a new ‘brunch’ menu.

Hollie said: “We have paper menus to begin with so we can try things out like we did before (at Bar 51) with our suggestions board. We were really receptive to what our customers wanted and took on board as much as possible. It is important we give people what they want.”

Music will play a part in the atmosphere and they hope to bring back the open mic nights. They also aim to pick up trade during the day too with a wider variety of lunchtime food on offer.

Once the bar and food side are up and running, the couple plan to refurbish and open up the guest rooms upstairs to bed and breakfast customers over the next month.

Ryan said: “We are excited to be back open and seeing everyone again.

“There has been really great hype on social media about us opening and we are humbled by the support. Sleaford has such a strong sense of community and there is a core group of people who really want to see Sleaford as good as it can be - whether that is cleaning the river or supporting local shops and using the market. We want everyone to do well.”