AN ARKELL’S pub will be ploughing new furrows after undergoing an extensive refurbishment to convert into an old-world-meets-modern ale and cider house.
The Plough, in Devizes Road, just off Croft Road, opened yesterday for customers for the first time since it was shut two months ago for a refit under new tenants Darren and Vicky Turner, who also run the King’s Hotel in Wood Street.
Ex-Swindon Town goal-scoring hero Andy Rowland had run the pub with his wife Julie until he had to give that up due to illness.
The Old Town pub, bought by the family brewery in 1867, now features a new copper bar, Arkell’s memorabilia and a pane of glass in the floor to allow punters a view into the beer cellar.
Brewery director George Arkell said: “We think we’re opening Swindon’s first ale and cider house for many years and Darren and Vicky will be serving craft ales, beers and perries along with good, honest pub food.
“This is an alternative to the traditional pubs and bars across Swindon and we’ve added to the pub’s appeal by installing a brand new copper bar and, unusually, a window to the cellar where customers can see the barrels underneath their feet.
“Darren and Vicky are delighted to be in charge of the pub alongside the King’s. Both are very different pubs and bars and there is definitely a desire among local people for different drinking experiences. It also adds to the fun when they are choosing where to go to eat or drink out.
“We’ve got five pubs called the Plough in the Arkell’s estate and none of them are in the countryside – so we might as well use the most urban Plough of them all to celebrate rural life through real ale and cider.”
The Plough, situated next door to the former Swindon Town railway station, is the latest craft ale establishment to open in Old Town, after the Hop Inn and the Cake and Ale Cafe and Bar.
Darren said his vision for the pub was a London City-style bar and he was delighted with how his dream had been realised.
“There’s nothing like it in Swindon and I’ve always wanted to run a proper little ale and cider house,” he said.
His wife Vicky said: “It looks fantastic – I never imagined it would turn out like it has. Darren had an idea for a City pub and we wanted it to be a traditional ale and cider house.
“We are just going to do hearty, chunky, hot meat sandwiches, similar to the ones we do at the King’s and then plenty of ales and ciders.”