ONE of Swindon’s best known pubs shows off its new interior to the public tomorrow.
Refurbishment of The Beehive, in Prospect Hill, began on August 11.
Visitors are promised a brighter, airier place – but one that does not compromise the qualities that have won a loyal following over the years.
It will also continue as an important local music venue, booking new talent and established favourites.
Landlord of 22 years Andy Marcer, 55, said: “I’ve been drinking in this pub since 1976, and I’ve always liked the atmosphere of the place.
“One thing I’ve tried to be careful about is not changing that atmosphere but brightening it up and making it a bit newer.
“It’s been 30 years since it was last done.”
The changes to the interior include new bar surrounds and more comfortable furnishings, as well as a general sprucing-up.
Andy readily admits that the closure of the old Swindon College at the bottom of the hill was not good news for the pub, which was popular among staff and adult students.
However, he is optimistic about the opening of the Regent Circus development in its place. He aims to attract cinemagoers. “We’re 50 yards up the hill,” he said, “we’ve got a range of ales and it’s a great place to meet before and after the picture.”
The range of ales has expanded. The Beehive still stocks its Greene King brews, but Andy revealed he was also making space for three guest ales, with an emphasis on giving local breweries a chance to show off their wares.
There is also a wine list, although the landlord was at pains to stress that his pub was not becoming a wine bar.
The Beehive, known to many regulars simply as The Hive, is a centre for art as well as music, displaying new works by local talent.
More than a quarter of a century ago it won Swindon international publicity when the then landlord, Noel Reilly, employed an exiled Czech intellectual as possibly Britain’s only official in-house pub philosopher.
The Beehive’s website is www.bee-hive.co.uk.