New indoor beer garden ready to open at Shrewsbury's Salopian Bar

A sports pub is hoping to score a sensational summer as it prepares to open its brand new ‘beer garden’ – all set up indoors.

Ollie Parry and Kev Rippard in the new indoor beer garden at The Salopian Bar
Ollie Parry and Kev Rippard in the new indoor beer garden at The Salopian Bar

The Salopian Bar, in Smithfield Road, is reopening on Monday for the first time since the February flooding disaster of last year, and staff are excited to welcome customers back and show off the new garden.

The pub has taken over the former Lunt’s Pharmacy warehouse, installing a new bar and several sturdy benches, with TVs set up ready for the Euros and the rugby this summer.

To match the blue and amber paint job on the outside of the pub, there are now several paintings of Thomas Southam, owner of Southam's Brewery, in a further nod to its Shrewsbury roots.

The new indoor beer garden has been completed after a major revamp

Lots of natural light is let in by the panoramic roof and glass side entrance, and the white walls are also adorned with floral paint designs by local artist Katie Romney.

Owner Ollie Parry, who has overseen the revamp along with business partner Kev Rippard, can’t wait for customers to return.

“It’ll be 15 months to the day since we were last open. We’re really looking forward to it and I know a lot of our regulars are. Some of them have booked days or even a week off work so they can come and enjoy it.

“We’ve doubled our staff to 14 and we’ve been able to keep on everyone from before lockdown.”

Ollie Parry, owner of The Salopian bar, Shrewsbury, surveys the cellar of the pub after the extensive flooding in March last year.

As well as bringing in sports fans and real ale connoisseurs, the pub is going to be doing cocktails to encourage extra people to visit.

Ollie added: “We’re still a sports bar. We’ve got the Euros and the British Lions rugby tour so that’s two major sporting events this summer.

“We’ve never done cocktails before. We’ve always been a real ale pub and 95 per cent of our customers have been men. We are keen to attract more women, and we thought cocktails would be a good way to do it.

"We’ll have a limited menu with 10 cocktails to start off with, but we hope to extend that.”

The entrance to the bright, indoor beer garden

Ollie and Kev have also moved the cellar upstairs and put the electrical equipment high up to minimise disruption when floods return. The old cellar has flooded 49 times in the 15 years of Ollie running the pub.

“The River Severn is a wild animal,” said Ollie.

“You can’t stop it from coming in. You’ve got to embrace it. When it came in January it took six of us nine hours to clear up and you wouldn’t have known it was flooded.

"Now we know that we can reopen within 24 hours after the floods go whereas we couldn’t do that before.”

Thomas Southam artwork is a new feature at The Salopian Bar

Lunt’s Pharmacy, which was next door neighbour of The Salopian, chose to move to The Tannery due to continuous flooding woes.

Now that has provided the pub with a major opportunity to increase capacity to over 300 when restrictions are fully lifted, and claw back income lost over the past year or so.

“This has come round with a bit of luck,” added Ollie.

“And it’s helped turn a nightmare situation into something good.”

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