WITH an extensive refurbishment just around the corner, an historic Ringwood pub is going from strength to strength amid uncertainty in the sector.
The Railway pub in Ringwood is one of the few establishments to have turned a profit during the pandemic with food and even pint takeaways offered to maintain the “community network”.
Nestled a short distance away from the town centre in Hightown Road, The Railway was used historically to serve workers of the railway line which used to run through the market town as one of two pubs either side of the tracks.
The pub has been frequented by the likes of renowned painter Augustus John and writer Dylan Thomas during its more than 100 year history.
Landlady Hannah Newman, who took over in 2013, describes it as a “traditional Victorian two bar pub” – which is soon to become a three bar pub.
She said: “We inherited a very 80s style pub so we stripped back everything and found we liked the traditional aesthetic of the pub. It’s really the bones of the pub which we’ve kept to make it quirky but with that Victorian heritage.
“What we’ve done is built on being a solid community pub with providing local beers and local produce – our burgers have pretty good reputation. It’s a burger place, it’s a craft beer place, it’s a traditional pub so you’ve got this weird melting pot of different things that work well together.”
Having worked throughout lockdown, Hannah says the pub “funnelled the money” made during this time back into the pub to work on their outside garden space which she described as “very unique to Ringwood”.
The garden can seat up to 50 people and has a selection of fires and heaters to keep punters warm during the winter months. Hannah says 60 people visited the pub garden on Christmas Eve this year.
She said: “Most people knew we had a garden but not used it at winter because who wants to sit outside in winter? The new garden has changed the experience. We’ve gone from not making profit during the winter to trading well all year.”
After a new kitchen was built to help with the increase in demand, the old kitchen will next month be converted to create a brand new third room – enabling the pub to welcome an additional 20-25 guests a day.
Despite the changes, Hannah maintained the community feel of The Railway would not change. She said: “We’re just a pub offering quality food and drink. We’re very casual and everyone is welcome. We see young families, 18 year olds having their first pub experience and the old school regulars who’ve been coming in for 50 to 60 years.
“It’s a social hub and that will never change.”
You can see more of The Railway by visiting @ringwoodrailway on Instagram.