Customers flock to ‘iconic’ honeystreet pub after makeover

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Barge Inn The Barge Inn

New tenants welcomed customers back to the canalside Barge Inn at Honeystreet when it re-opened on Friday.

Derren Heath and Amanda Swindell, who are both in their early 40s, have signed a five-year tenancy with the pub’s owner and director of Honeystreet Ales Ian McIvor.

At the opening, they were welcomed by a large crowd who were happy to see their local open again.

Mr Heath said: “Amanda and I are absolutely delighted and honoured to be taking over as tenants of this iconic pub.

“We fell under the Barge’s spell ten years ago and have been camping here every summer since.

“We have always wanted to run the pub and jumped at the opportunity to take it on. It’s an amazing place with very loyal customers and a much loved institution.”

To mark the re-opening of the new-look pub, near Pewsey, some of the regulars placed a Sarsen standing stone in the newly re-sculpted beer garden.

‘Cosmic Ray’, one of those helping with the work, said:“There’s been a lot of negative energy recently, so placing the stone on December 12 was important because it is an important date in the universe and this will mark the new beginning.”

During the refit, original features have been uncovered and restored and walls are now decorated in artwork created by Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones.

Mr McIvor said: “Regulars have been complaining to me for the last two years that they didn’t like the last makeover, carried out by the previous community group tenants.

“To be honest, it was uninspiring and bland.”

The 200-year-old tavern closed at the end of October after it had been run as a community project with the aid of £430,000 Lottery funding.

Honeystreet Ales is continuing work on the oak barn which is being built next to the pub.

Officially known as The Barefoot, but affectionately just known as The Shed, it will open next summer as an inspirational space for the arts.

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