North East pub operators Craig and Stacey Wright have expanded their range with the purchase of a third establishment, The Big Jug on Claypath in Durham. In partnership with Star Pubs & Bars, they are embarking on a major £400,000 refurbishment of the pub.
The pub is due to reopen in mid-March, just in time for Easter, and the investment will lead to the creation of 10 new jobs.
Craig and Stacey already manage the highly regarded and popular City in Durham city centre, another pub leased from Star Pubs & Bars, as well as The Green on Billy Row Crook, 20 minutes west of Durham city.
Their vision for The Big Jug includes the creation of a high-quality local institution with a relaxed and sociable atmosphere that aims to attract locals, students and visitors alike.
Live music will be a prominent highlight, with various acts such as bands and an open mic night taking place two to four times a week. In addition, the pub shows daily live sporting events and offers grab-and-go food options such as pizzas, paninis and charcuterie boards.
The thoughtful renovation of the Grade 2 pub will increase its seating capacity from 37 to 69. Alongside the new interior and updated furniture, a separate live performance area will be established, toilets will be renovated, and the party room and bar on the upper floor will be renovated. undergoing renovation. In addition, the addition of four new televisions enables sports to be watched throughout the pub, including the ballroom.
Improving energy efficiency involves various measures, such as increasing insulation and motion sensor lighting. Advanced technology is being introduced that automatically switches off the beverage fridges when no movement is detected behind the bar and deactivates the cellar’s cooling equipment when the ambient temperature is low enough. In addition, the installation of the Smart Dispense system, which is 20% more energy efficient than standard dispensing systems, contributes to the sustainable development of the pub.
The appearance of the pub will change, and it will have a new interior, new signs and improved lighting. A new seating area for 16 will be added to the rear, with festoon lighting and artificial planting, enhancing the pub’s ambience and appeal.
Craig says: “There aren’t many places in Durham that host live music on a regular basis. Our other pub, The City, is one of the few other venues. Also, an upstairs ballroom with its own bar is a rarity in Durham. As well as giving pubs a reason to come out, it’s important , that they continue to nurture grassroots music.
“We are lucky that Durham attracts people from all over the world – students and tourists. The pubs we run have a broad appeal and something for everyone. They have loyalty programs and discounts for students. Our current pubs are doing really well – the village pub sells around 600 pints a week and The City sold 77,000 pints in 2023. Both pubs are decorated to a high standard and offer customers a great environment and quality food and drink. When I started working in pubs 18 years ago, people wanted regular drinks; now selling premium products.”
Lance Green, Business Development Manager at Star Pubs & Bars, says: “Craig and Stacey are experienced and successful pub operators with an intimate knowledge of the Durham market. They have turned around their two other pubs and are doing the same with The Big Jug. We are delighted to be investing with Craig and Stacey .Big Jug needed the right people to take it to where it is now.I wish Craig and Stacey every success in their latest venture.