Drinkers happy after revamped pub opens
A PUB once branded 'one of the worst in Stoke-on-Trent', has reopened after a £200,000 refurbishment.
Shropshire-based Caldmore Taverns has invested in the former Foaming Tankard, in Fenton.
The Victoria Road venue, below, is now called Darcy's and reopened over the weekend after an eight-month closure.
Improvement works included moving the 19th century bar to unblock a window. Stairs to the cellar and the first floor were also removed to create more floor space.
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Former landlord Gary Fullerton is back as licensee just months after being handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court for setting his dog on a customer who refused to leave the Foaming Tankard last year.
Mr Fullerton was also ordered to pay victim Jordan Ratcliffe £500 compensation.
The 52-year-old has told The Sentinel previously that the Foaming Tankard was in the top five worst pubs in Stoke-on-Trent when he started working there in 2008.
Mr Fullerton said: "The new venue is so light now, where before it was dark and dinghy.
"We really want to turn this into a family pub so we've reclaimed a lot of the older parts of the building to try to get back to its roots."
Other improvements include the introduction of oak floorboards from upstairs, and an old pew and a working grandfather clock.
The pub chain has also tidied up the outdoor area and installed disabled toilets.
The freehold pub closed in November and work began on the refurbishment in January.
Caldmore Taverns wants to turn the pub into a hub for the community.
Mr Fullerton added: "There's no denying this pub has had its ups and downs but this is a new beginning for it.
"Our opening night was a real success with lots of new groups of people coming in and giving us great feedback."
Mr Fullerton hopes to offer bar snacks and evening meals, including themed dining experiences at weekends.
He added: "We now feel like a local pub and we're ready to welcome back our neighbours."
Drinkers have welcomed their new-look pub.
Regular Ian Jones, aged 42, said: "This used to be a real drinkers' pub but that's changed now.
"It feels like it could become the best pub in Fenton."
Jeff Boon, aged 55, who has been drinking at the venue for more than 10 years, said: "It was very rough before but this looks fantastic and I hope it does really well."