When we decided to put our instincts, energy and resources into building a pub company we knew right from the start what kind of pubs we wanted.
Most people have in their mind’s eye what the perfect pub should be. It’s probably an amalgam of all the usual things people love about their favourite pubs: great beer, great food, great atmosphere and a home away from home. Convivial surroundings, the smell of a real fire and the sound of laughter: all these things evoke the spirit of the classic pub.
But we didn’t want to create a pastiche: we wanted to create something genuine. In short, we wanted to take everything that makes the pub great and build upon it. To do that required every ounce of our ingenuity and experience. Fortunately, we had plenty of both having 20 years of working for pub entrepreneurs like Hugh Corbett, Gary Pettet and successful operations like Slug & Lettuce.
When the siren song of running our own show became too hard to resist, we put everything we had into the Alford Arms in Frithsden and the launch of Salisbury Pubs. We had no idea how hard it was going to be running our own show. Fortunately, we had no idea how much fun it would be too. Even better, it was successful and since we first opened the doors of the Alford in 1999, we’ve expanded across the Chilterns and acquired the Royal Oak, Marlow; the Swan, Denham and the Old Queens Head in Penn.
People routinely describe our pubs as gastro-pubs, but we’re not really comfortable with that tag. The term ‘Gastro-pub’ sounds too restauranty and cheffy. We’ve always felt that we have great pubs, where you just happen to be able to get great food. They’re all pubs first and foremost, so although there are tables in the dining room available for bookings, there’s also a bar area for drinkers with tables available on a first come, first served basis.
That’s how we like it – and it seems it’s how our customers like it too. The proof is a clutch of awards from the likes of the Good Pub Guide and Les Routiers.
Since it began life, Salisbury Pubs has always strived to be true to the traditions of The Great British Pub. Sometimes it feels like a mission, occasionally a passion (and often a vocation), but we wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t love pubs.
We hope you enjoy them too.David and Becky Salisbury
" we wanted to take everything that makes the pub great and build upon it