New future for one of city’s favourite pubs

An artist's impression of how the John O Gaunt will look
An artist's impression of how the John O Gaunt will look

One of Lancaster’s oldest and most revered pubs is to undergo a £177,000 makeover.

The Grade II Listed Ye Olde John O’ Gaunt, in Market Street, famed for its traditional decor and live music, will close for around five weeks to allow a “sympathetic” renovation to take place.

Plans have been submitted to Lancaster City Council to resize the bar area to allow a greater view of live performances, create a new beer garden at the back, and develop a new games room in the currently redundant function area on the first floor.

The project is a joint venture between landlord Alan Ackers, of Halmer Inns Ltd, who has seven pubs in the north west, and owners Punch Taverns.

Mr Ackers, who took on the lease of the John O’ Gaunt in February, said the pub would not lose any of its history.

He said: “I love the pub, and I want to be sympathetic to its current style.

“It will not lose any of its history, and will even gain a full suit of armour at the front.

“We’ll be extending the beer offer to include eight cask ales on the bar, including our own brand, and we’ll be opening in a cafe style environment from 8.30am until midday, followed by food during the day, and live music at night.

“We’ll also be pulling down the flat roofed area at the back of the pub to create a much bigger and better beer garden.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the pub when it’s finished.”

Mr Ackers said he hoped to start the work after Lancaster Music Festival.

A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns said: “We are pleased to confirm that subject to the planning application submitted, Punch Taverns are due to complete a joint investment with our tenants to the value of £177,000.

“The pub is an impressive listed building and is well known in the community for serving good quality beers and hosting music nights throughout the week.

“Our tenants have been speaking to their regular customers about the plans and have taken their views into consideration to ensure that the John O Gaunt maintains its traditional feel. If planning is successful, the refurbishment will enhance the current offer by reducing the size of the bar and repositioning it a small distance which will enable the customers to see the musicians better.

“The pub will also undergo a complete redecoration and will benefit from the creation of a beer garden at the back of the pub for customers to enjoy.”