All change at Lancaster historic pub

Tia Aspinall and site foreman Manny at The John O' Gaunt, which is undergoing refurbishment
Tia Aspinall and site foreman Manny at The John O' Gaunt, which is undergoing refurbishment

A Grade II Listed Lancaster pub is currently closed for a £177,000 makeover which has seen it’s famous interior stripped to the bone.

The John O’ Gaunt, in Market Street, closed last week for refurbishment which will result in a new bar, new flooring and seating, a new beer garden and modern decor.

The previous interior, which lent the pub its personality over many years, has been completely stripped back, but landlady Tia Aspinall said that as long as the music, atmosphere, and crowd remained, the pub would be as popular as ever.

She said: “The bar is going to be more rounded and there will be two extra steel pillars with one pillar towards the back of the pub being taken out. The back bar has come out, and at the back of the pub there will be booth tables, with seating all the way round in the far corner. We’ll have some caged shelving with brass instruments and interesting bottles, and all the pictures will be going back up, which I know people were concerned about.

“I think it’s going to feel a lot cleaner, neater and nicer, but there’s still going to be live music six nights a week, with jazz twice a week.”

Tia said the music would have a different feel with the new tiled flooring, but that this was something musicians would work out once the pub re-opens.

The stained glass windows at the front of the pub will also be renewed, there will be extra lines of cask ale, with one free of tie, and the outside space at the back will be turned into a proper beer garden with the current shed being demolished.

Tia said: “It’s a very old and much loved pub and there’s been good and bad things said about the refurb. To many the pub has been like this forever, but as long as we keep the music, keep the atmosphere, the good crowd, I think people will like it.

“We’ve always been big on cask and the new bar will allow us to go from five to eight casks, and we’ve gone free of tie on one cask, which will allow us to get local brewers in. I’m very excited, I can’t wait to see it.”

The pub will open for a trade night on March 24, before re-opening to the public on Friday March 25, with a weekend of live music. The work is being carried out by Swandene Specialist Interiors of Tyne and Wear.