After a 10 year stint, former leaseholders of the White Horse Inn, Tony Beecroft and Jez Curtis, handed over the reins to new owners, Andy Hunt and Abbie Clifton, on Monday 11 November. It marks the end of an era for the pub, which has seen its fortunes turned around over the last decade to become one of the village’s leading hostelries, as well as the initiator of the now annual – and hugely successful – Ruddington Beer & Cider Festival.
And whilst Andy and Abbie have plans up their sleeves to build on these successes, Hoss regulars and real ale fans need not worry. Their main aim is to maintain the essence of The White Horse as a traditional, village pub and a focal point of the local community. Andy is looking to increase the number of real ales to six, with a mixture of local and national brands that rotate regularly. A new wine list and a selection of premium lagers will also be introduced.
The new owners will be making some bigger changes in the longer term, including a refurbishment programme – but NOT to the tune of £250,000 as wrongly stated in a recent Nottingham Post article! When the refurbishment takes place in the New Year, Andy and Abbie will be looking for local suppliers and tradespeople to carry out the work, and interested parties are being urged to contact them ASAP.
One particularly welcome addition will be the introduction of a brand new food offering, complete with structural and layout changes that will see the current bar area transformed into a dedicated dining area during food service times. The lounge will become the main drinking zone with a new floor and seating arrangement, whilst the exterior Stables restaurant and Courtyard kitchen will also get a makeover and be linked to the main building with a covered walk-through.
‘The menu will be based around pub classics,’ says Andy. ‘Fish and chips, sausage and mash and a signature White Horse burger. Everything will be home-made and we’ll be sourcing from local suppliers where possible. We’ll be offering traditional Sunday lunches and breakfasts at the weekend.
In time, we’d like to have a mobile wood-fired pizza oven – perfect for catering at the beer festival and other events – and we’re also looking at other activities like cookery courses and early morning coffee and cakes for mums and babies.’
Some things won’t change, however. ‘We’ll still be holding a quiz night on Thursdays and the pool table and darts board, with free pool on Tuesdays nights, will be with us for a while yet,’ says Andy. ‘In the longer term, we’ll still be allowing dogs into the new bar area and, whilst children will be welcomed into the main building after the refurbishment, our regulars can rest assured that there will be strict time restrictions on this so they won’t be disturbed.’
Taking over The White Horse is a journey come full circle for Andy and Abbie. Originally from Cropwell Bishop and Bunny respectively, they lived in the village seven years ago and have recently returned to Ruddington with their three children.
Andy previously managed Nottingham hostelries Larwood & Voce and the Wollaton, and before that, ran the Lace Market Hotel including the popular Cock & Hoop pub. He’s now delighted to be turning his hand to running The White Horse.
‘There are strong family ties for me here – my Grandad used to drink here, my Mum and Aunt worked here and my Grandma was on the ladies’ darts team!’ he explains. ‘I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and maintaining The White Horse’s position as the best pub in the village – and making it even better in the future. Abbie and I have lots of exciting plans for the future and we’re very keen to spread the news.
So if you have any questions or would just like a chat, please call into the Hoss or give us a call on 0115 984 4550 – we’re very approachable!’
Elsewhere in the village…
Changes are afoot in some of our other pubs too, with a new bar recently installed at The Red Heart and new upholstery and flooring at The Three Crowns. And as residents may have noticed, The Red Lion has joined in the refurbishments by having some external work done to upgrade its exterior walls. Lindsey Flint, Manager and Rob Pinto, Assistant Manager have now left the White Horse and have gone to the Victoria Tavern.