Pub facelifts to go on in Long Sutton and Holbeach

PUB MAKEOVERS: Sean Portass and Dana Garkavaya.  Photo (TIM WILSON): SG220515-107TW.
PUB MAKEOVERS: Sean Portass and Dana Garkavaya. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG220515-107TW.

Plans to bring a Holbeach pub put up for sale nearly five years ago back to life are going “slowly but surely”, according to its owner.

Sean Portass, who along with partner Dana Garkavaya bought The Red Lion on Spalding Road two years ago, have committed themselves to a £250,000 makeover of the pub which is Grade-II listed.

But before that, the couple are turning their attention to The Old Ship Inn, Long Sutton, after its landlord left about three weeks ago.

Sean said: “The pub has never done amazingly well but with one or two things happening there recently, the tenant decided to concentrate on another pub.

“So we’re going to reopen it in October after doing some internal work there, with all new furniture, carpets, curtains, kitchen, cellar and bar.

“There’s not a great deal wrong with it but the pub just wants a revamp because it’s a quite, little, old worldly pub that was semi-successful.

The Red Lion is a massive job and a complete rebuild, with a new roof, floors, accommodation, like building a brand new house, except with a little but more detail

Sean Portass

“But me and Dana are, hopefully, quite good at running pubs and we believe The Old Ship Inn will be a roaring success.”

Sean said he expects to invest up to a fifth of the amount needed for The Red Lion, about £40,000 to £50,000, in revamping The Old Ship Inn, one of about six pubs across South Holland owned by the couple.

The others are Palmers Ale House and The Granary, also in Long Sutton, The Rising Sun in Gedney Drove End and The Riverside in Sutton Bridge.

Sean said “Palmers has gone absolutely crazy and is doing unbelievably well.”

The Red Lion in Holbeach, which has a bar, patio, games room and function room, was originally put up for sale with a £180,000 price tag, including VAT.

But Sean said: “The Red Lion is a massive job and it’s going slowly but surely.

“It’s a complete rebuild, with a new roof, floors, accommodation, that’s like building a brand new house, except with a little but more detail.

“Work is going on slowly but surely because of The Old Ship Inn which we’re going to reopen first, then doing The Red Lion afterwards.”

Sean confirmed that he hoped The Red Lion would be ready to serve customers by the end of 2017, although he described the actual opening date as “very open-ended”.

“Holbeach needs something and by reopening The Red Lion, it could have a knock-on effect,” said Sean.

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