Historic Smethwick pub reopens after a year-long refurbishment

A pub has reopened after being closed for a year for a major refurbishment.

SANDWELL COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 19/04/2022..Pic in St Pauls Road, Smethwick at pub : The Ivy Bush', and landlord: Lakhbir Gill is pictured. The pub has had a massive tranformation and re-design..
SANDWELL COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 19/04/2022..Pic in St Pauls Road, Smethwick at pub : The Ivy Bush', and landlord: Lakhbir Gill is pictured. The pub has had a massive tranformation and re-design..

The Ivy Bush in St Paul's Road, Smethwick, has been serving locals pints for more than 150 years but now has been transformed into a plush desi-grill.

The owner, who has been in charge for 28 years, noticed the change in tastes after the first lockdown and decided to make his pub more family friendly.

Lakhbir Gill said: "After the first lockdown I kept on hearing how families wanted to come out and eat together after spending so much time stuck in their houses.

"The pub was very much a drinkers pub which catered to single men, so we decided to change the interior, create a kitchen big enough to cater for lots of meals."

Luhkbir Gill and his son Gee

The refurbishment cost in the region of £500,000 but would have cost a lot more without the help of family and friends.

He said: "We are a community pub and when I told friends and family about my plans they were delighted the place had a future and pitched in and helped out doing whatever they could.

"We opened a couple of weeks ago and it has been wonderful to see so many families eating together."

Mixed tandoori grills are proving popular with customers

Mr Gill recruited a chef who has created a menu which includes Tandoori grill, Nepalese dishes and main courses from Indo-China.

He said: "I was one of the first Asian publicans in the Black Country but now lots of places are desi-grills so I wanted to offer something different, our chef has just got back from India and has created some great fish dishes which are a speciality."

The Ivy Bush is also restarting the sports clubs, including entering darts and pool leagues, and the refurbishment has another phase to be completed.

Mr Gill said: "We are creating a roof top bar which will be the first in Smethwick, hopefully it will be ready for the summer so people can have a cocktail and take in a view of Smethwick."

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