A Study in how to transform a pub’s fortunes

Tracey Hosker Landlady and owner of the Study Room in Lancaster with Barmaids Annie Bays and Lisa Marie Sharples Pictures by Paul Currie
Tracey Hosker Landlady and owner of the Study Room in Lancaster with Barmaids Annie Bays and Lisa Marie Sharples Pictures by Paul Currie

Spend just a few minutes in Tracey Hosker’s company and you’ll immediately realise why she’s successful.

Bubbly, funny, energetic, enthusiastic and chatty; but Tracey is also a tough cookie who knows her trade inside out.

Little wonder, as the 48-year-old has crammed more into a 30-year career than most do in a lifetime.

Tracey’s jobs have been as wide-ranging as holiday camp kids’ entertainer and running a VIP area in a swish Leicester Square nightclub for Mick Jagger and David Bowie.

And she has managed dozens of venues for some of the biggest national pub and club chains from Dundee to Plymouth and most points inbetween.

Now Tracey is back home in the Lancaster area where she grew up, and is turning The Study Room into the city’s most talked-about new bar.

After a £280,000 investment, the Punch Taverns-owned pub is going places.The former Last Orders and Nag’s Head was closed and derelict for 18 months until general manager Tracey and her business partner Mick Horan took over.

“The pub had a bad reputation,” said Tracey, 48.

“We wanted to turn it into a nice, airy, modern-looking bar, open in the morning, offering food, but one that’s not too posh or pretentious andthat attracts everybody.”

Tracey and Mick called it The Study Room and immediately had a backlash from local people on social media.

“People were saying ‘Oh it’s just going to be for students’ and we had to work very hard to put their minds at rest that this is a bar for everybody.

“Yes, we do two-for-one cocktails but we also do ale, coffee and cake, and nice premium lagers.”

With Tracey’s entertainment background, live music is very important to her. Her late dad Pete Hosker was a musician and comedian, so entertainment is in her blood.

Live bands, a regular Saturday Northern Soul, funk and Motown night, residences for popular local DJs Mark McKenna, Stuart Michaels and Steve Middlesbrough, and gigs by X Factor hopeful Paul Akister have helped keep business booming in The Study Room’s first six months.

Tracey and Mick have also taken over the John O’Gaunt, a traditional pub very different to The Study Room. Tracey wants to make discreet changes to the Market Street alehouse but nothing drastic.

“We want to reinstate it as a proper city centre boozer,” she said. “It’s lost its edge. But it has it’s own style of music which works phenomenally well. We want to move the bar to the back to open up the room, maybe reinstate the fireplaces, a new brass rail on the bar, do whisky nights and a new food menu.”

Then the plan is to expand The Study Room brand, possibly in Kendal.

But Tracey’s main focus are her businesses in Lancaster and she’s delighted to be back.

“I absolutely love being back here. Lancaster is so up and coming. Anyone who says it’s depressing, there’s no money to be made, is lying.”