Business partners Charlie Lock and James Cowley took over the Castle pub in Halton, Runcorn in September 2020. Charlie with an events and festival management background and James, a classically trained chef were granted a partially tied agreement with Red Oak and reopened the pub that had been closed for the previous 6 months. A joint investment ensured that both the internal and external areas of the pub were refurbished bringing in all new furniture, a full redecoration and upgrading the commercial kitchen. The interior of the pub now celebrates the historical links it has with the adjoining 11th century castle ruins.
With the reopening, ten new local jobs were created and a new menu was launched featuring restaurant quality brunch, lunch and evening menus. The former courtroom on the first floor has been renovated to create a function room that can accommodate weddings and other functions. Plans are afoot to obtain licences to hold civil ceremonies in the next 12 months.
Speaking about taking on the pub with Red Oak, Charlie said, “The pandemic was instrumental to us taking on the daunting task of turning around The Castle, however after seeing how much potential the place had, we didn’t have to think twice about taking it on. Red Oak have been very flexible and have given us the freedom to do the re-development and make changes in line with our longer term vision for the pub. The £60,000 investment they provided alongside our own enabled us to completely upgrade the pub inside and out. We are now seeing a lot of customers paying a visit to The Castle for the first time in years and they are amazed at what we’ve done. Everyone seems to be really grateful that we are now open and that the place has been given the much needed breath of fresh air that it deserves. We really appreciate the local support we’ve received so far.”.