They run Michelin-starred restaurants and have now branched into pubs - but where do the Galvin brothers stand on the really big questions?
Chris and Jeff Galvin run a collection of family run French restaurants like La Chapelle at Spital Square, London. Now they are making a foray into pubs, opening the ‘pub deluxe’ Galvin Hop in Spitalfields and now the Galvin Green Man in Chelmsford, Essex.
The Green Man is their first ‘great British pub’ in the Essex countryside, and they have invested around £3m in refurbishing the site.
Plate or slate?
Jeff: Definitely plate. They are timeless and slates have been overdone.
Shabby chic or design shrine?
Chris: A bit of both – I think it’s good to keep the character of a pub but add in more design led aspects to keep it up-to-date. At the Galvin Green Man, we’ve allowed many of the original features of the 14th Century pub to shine through – from the original, rather wonky beams, to the horse mounting block outside. But we’ve also added our glass-roofed dining room, for a more modern touch.
Brass or chrome fittings?
Chris: I prefer brass as it has a warmer feel to it and is much more in-keeping with the pub feel. We’ve got several open fires too, and I love the way the brass fixtures reflect the flames and bounce the warmth around the room.
Dogs allowed or are the only animals on the menu?
Chris: Dogs allowed – you can’t have a country pub that doesn’t allow dogs, and we don’t mind a bit of mud.
Jeff: Yep we’ve got about six dog bowls here too, so they are very welcome.
Family friendly or keep the kids at home?
Chris: I’m a family man so I’d always say family friendly. Two of my kids are even working at the pub - Emile is front of house, and Jessica is pulling pints behind the bar. I also run the business with my brother, so family is at the heart of everything we do at Galvin.
Live sport or big screen bans?
Jeff: We will be showing live sport here in the pub but only in certain areas. We have this backroom to watch big events in, which has a projector screen and a table to sit round.
Wear what you like or uniforms for the staff?
Jeff: It’s a bit of both. We have uniforms because it’s important to know who is a member of staff and who is not, but we like it quite casual. Like our customers, we want our staff to feel comfortable.
Background music or silence is golden?
Jeff: We never used to have background music but we do now. I like it quite upbeat so you can actually hear it.
High heels or wellies?
Jeff: It’s got to be wellies.
Chris: No, heels, I’ve seen enough wellies when I was laying turf here!
Want to see what other publicans think? Lee Price, former BII Licensee of the Year and man in charge at the Royal Pier, Aberystwyth, lays down his thoughts. Or see what Joe Cussens, director of The Bath Pub Company said.