It's out with the old year, in with the new and just like people, businesses everywhere are thinking about rebooting themselves to face the 2020s.

A bit of investment and a lot of thought can refresh a venue that's starting to feel a bit tired, or transform it into an entirely new kind of place. Here are three pubs that gave themselves a makeover to inspire you.

 

The Bottle of Sauce
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Once a hotel, then a pub, now a pub turned co-working space, the building now known as The Bottle of Sauce in Cheltenham has seen plenty of change over the last few years.

 

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Originally, the pub was called St James' Hotel with several rooms upstairs and a bar area downstairs. Then it changed to a Scottish-themed pub called The Quaiche. That then shut down and was vacant for a while until it was taken over by Dodo Pubs, which already owned two pubs in Oxfordshire. After a £500,000 refurbishment, it opened in November 2016.

Now, it welcomes a range of customers from across the community, from office workers to the student crowd and local residents. The name of the pub comes from Cheltenham's horse-racing history – "bottle of sauce" being cockney rhyming slang for horse.

The team decided rather than refurbish the rooms upstairs to run it as a B&B, they would use the space to encourage workers to come in and use it as an office.

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Assistant manager James Punch says: "The upstairs was left for a while. We had no experience in the hotel trade. Then we had that eureka moment and we decided to make a co-working office space. That was it and it just snowballed."

The team stripped everything back and discovered old wallpaper which they then waxed over. They bought furniture and created a room for staff to make tea and coffee and prepare food. There are 11 rooms and 46 desks. People can rent a desk for £280 a month excluding VAT or £250 per month excluding VAT if rented for six months.

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A company across the road took it on a trial period for a year while their offices were being renovated and in August, Dodo Works was officially opened. The staff working upstairs see the benefit of working above a pub with 10 per cent off food and 40 per cent off coffee.

"It works really well," James says. "We get the benefit of having a captive audience upstairs for after-work socialising and drinks. The guys upstairs will have a few drinks after work to let their hair down. 
"It's a really nice addition."

 

The Seaglass Inn
Port Seton, East Lothian, Scotland

 

The Seaglass Inn was formerly a little used, tired local called The Wemyss Hotel. Following a £425,000 refurbishment by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and new licensees, mother and daughter team Christine O'Brien and Sarah Couch, it has turned into a quality, family-friendly pub.

 

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The overhaul gave The Seaglass Inn a stylish contemporary look. They created a stunning outdoor area for al fresco eating and drinking, as well as adding BT and Sky Sports and installing a new kitchen.

Matthew Dyson, investment manager for Star Pubs & Bars, says: "It was a run-down pub. We had a good look at it and decided that there was a real opportunity in that area for a pub that had a good food offering as well as being a good local.

"It's like a brand new pub now. It was just a local before but now it's the centre of the community. It's gone from being a tired old building to a vibrant pub."

 

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The pub now attracts a broader clientele. Whereas the old pub depended largely on workmen and male OAPs for its custom, the new incarnation is also pulling in women and families.

Landlady Christine O'Brien says: "Now it's outstanding. I can't think of anything in the area that is like this. We have lots of girls coming in. We have lots of families that come for lunch and dinner. It's totally changed.
"It's the hub of the community now. It's made a huge difference. The reaction we've had is just incredible."

 

The Old Swan
Earls Barton, Northampton

The Old Swan in Earls Barton, Northampton, was shut by the police after it became a drugs den. The opportunity to revamp the pub was taken by Paul Bexter alongside fellow licensee Keith Goodard.

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After spending £100,000 on refurbishment with new front and back bars and a brand new garden area, it opened three years ago and went on to win an award for Best Turnaround pub at the Ei Group awards.

To ensure that they met the customers' needs, the pair sent a questionnaire out to people in the village so that they could share their views on what they wanted, from what beer to serve, which wines to stock and what type of food, with the majority voting for traditional pub grub.

 

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As well as completely redecorating and refurbishing the premises, they also spent many a Sunday at car boot sales to buy furniture and things to display.

"People wanted the pub to look like a pub," Paul says.

"A lot of the stuff on the walls is local to the village. We have got pictures of what the village used to look like 100 years ago and pictures of famous people who came from or visited the village."
Now, the business has grown and the pub is a popular place to visit.

"It's a family pub. We have a zero tolerance approach. Now, we have a real family environment. We get people come in the pub who haven't been in for 20 or 30 years.

"Before we took over we went to about 120 pubs. We had never been in the industry before and we wanted to see how people were served and what the menus were like. For us, this is a business, not a lifestyle."