News Walthamstow

Walthamstow pub reopens after controversial makeover

The makeover cost £418,000 and involved installing 14 TV screens
By Victoria Munro

The Bell reopened on Friday, 21st October (credit: Leisure PR)
The Bell reopened on Friday, 21st October (credit: Leisure PR)

Walthamstow pub The Bell reopened following the ousting of its old manager and a controversial makeover.

The pub in Forest Road closed for refurbishment with an unofficial goodbye party last month and reopened on Friday, 21st October, after a £418,000 refurbishment.

The local favourite is now managed in-house by landlord Stonegate Group, the UK’s largest pub company, which forced out long-standing manager Andy Potter.

Andy and his wife Louisa took the pub on in 2012 and it became highly profitable under their management, going from taking £3,500 a week to £30,000.

Inside the Bell (credit: Leisure PR)

In a press release sent to the Echo last week, Stonegate introduced the new general manager, Dave Morrish, his son Joseph and “his English bulldog Bonnie”.

Dave wrote: “This is an exciting new chapter for this brilliant pub, which is so loved by so many here in Walthamstow.

“The Bell has had a great past as one of East London’s best pubs and now it has a great future ahead too. It is good to be here and meet so many locals.

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“The Bell has been part of the community for years and that will continue. It has a great presence on the street and with these big windows it’s light, airy and welcoming. 

“The warmth and character of The Bell is still here, just as it has always been. We have refreshed the décor and furniture and it’s a brilliant place for everyone to come in and meet up.

“It’s not just about the quality food and drinks we have, it’s about being the social hub of the area. Pubs are the original and best meeting place for communities and The Bell is a classic example of this.

“We are here for everyone, all day, every day. I’m very proud of this great pub. Come in and see for yourself.”

The lost piece of street art (credit: Wood Street Walls/Shok_1)

During the refurbishment, a popular piece of street art on the wall outside the pub was painted over.

While a few locals have been cautiously optimistic about the change, many are angry that their local boozer could turn into a “spit and sawdust sports bar”, particularly after leaked plans showed Stonegate intended to install 14 TV screens.

The press release notes new booth seating, which includes some of the built-in screens, describing them as “perfect for any sports fans looking to catch the next big match”.

The pub will also now offer an app to allow customers to order from their tables.

Find out more about the new Bell pub on their website.

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