Popular pub to temporarily close for £200,000 update

A Shropshire pub is set to close for a major refurbishment.

Raja Singh, licensee of The Shakespeare, Newport
Raja Singh, licensee of The Shakespeare, Newport

The Shakespeare, on Upper Bar in Newport, will close at the end of this month for a £200,000 upgrade.

The refurbishment by Star Pubs & Bars Ltd, Heineken’s pub business and new licensee Raja Singh, will build on the outside investment already made by Mr Singh during the pandemic.

The Shake Shack – a covered beer garden with TV screens – was set up during the pandemic, which can hold a maximum of 150 people and has been well received by locals.

Now, investment is being spent to upgrade the interior and create a rustic look, complete with industrial style lighting, wood panelled walls and more comfortable seating.

The front of the pub will also be redecorated in the colours white and green, with new signage and lighting.

A new and improved desi grill menu will be launched, as well as a daytime Indian themed brunch menu and a Smart Dispense system for drinks will be installed, which reduces waste, water and energy consumption.

The licensee will be looking to broaden the pub's appeal by holding community events like beer and gin festivals, bottomless brunches, as well as having a resident DJ and hosting student nights.

A visual of what The Shakespeare is expected to look like after the refurbishment

Mr Singh said: “I was born and bred in Newport, just a stone’s throw away from The Shakespeare, only leaving the area for a short while to work in hospitality in London.

"I used to go to The Shakespeare a lot when I was younger. I remember telling my grandfather, a former publican himself, that I would love to run it one day and so was saddened when it closed a few years ago.

"My parents and I are foodies and had talked about doing something together for ages, and so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to jump in and take on the Shakespeare and offer a top-quality desi mixed grill.

"It works really well, as there isn’t anything like this within 10 miles. My mother heads up the kitchen and my father was front of house. Turning the pub around has been a real family effort.

"I now want to build on what we’ve achieved and broaden our appeal further, attracting all ages and cultures, and people from further afield.”

Star Pubs & Bars business development manager, John Dardis said: “Raja and his family have done a fantastic job with The Shakespeare. They have already increased trade by 50 per cent and have been awarded 5 out of 5 on Trip Advisor.

"All 98 reviews recommend them, there isn’t one bad one. They have also been passionate supporters of the local community, most recently raising nearly seven thousand pounds for the Newport Memorial rugby match sponsored by the Shakespeare Inn.

“We’re delighted to be investing in The Shakespeare to take it to the next level and to support Raja with his exciting plans for the pub.”

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