Brighton pub to reopen with local couple at the helm after 14-month closure

A popular Brighton pub which closed after the lockdown hit last March will reopen with new landlords and after a £150,000 revamp this week.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 2:34 pm
New landlords Paul and Gabby Wimhurst outside the Duke of Wellington

The Duke of Wellington on Upper Gloucester Road will reopen on Friday (June 4) with Paul and Gabby Wimhurst as the new operators. Five new jobs have also been created.

The pub – a favourite with Brighton & Hove Albion fans – is remaining true to its sporting heritage with sports memorabilia from Brighton and Sussex decorating the walls. Every part of the games area has been improved and replaced, including the TV screens, pool table and dartboard.

Taking over the pub is a dream come true for Paul and Brighton born-and-bred Gabby, who is an ardent Brighton & Hove Albion supporter.

Paul and Gabby Wimhurst inside the pub, which has undergone a £150,000 refurbishment

The couple married after meeting in Brighton. Wanting to work together and both passionate about pubs, the Wimhursts decided to train as licensees and left Brighton three years ago to learn the ropes in a Soho pub.

Paul said: “Brighton is the most vibrant city in the UK – it’s got everything. Our goal was to return here and get a pub of our own. We’d been looking for 18 months when we saw The Duke of Wellington. We knew straight away it was ‘the one’. It’s a beautiful old building in a great location with a fantastic reputation. We both love sports, so we couldn't have found a more perfect pub. The refurbishment has transformed The Duke of Wellington; it looks better than ever. We can’t wait to open the doors and show people their new-look local.”

The refurbishment investment by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars has included an upgrade throughout the pub and the creation of four distinct areas – a traditional bar, comfortable lounge, games room and meeting space for local groups and clubs.

The pub’s 30-seater courtyard garden has not been forgotten, either. It now boasts new furniture, pretty planting, festoon lighting, heating and a covered pagoda complete with a big all-weather TV screen.

Landlords Paul and Gabby in the new games area of the pub, which opens on June 4

Gabby said: "With the Euros about to start, it's the ideal time to reopen, and we’ll be screening all the matches inside and out. Despite the restrictions, we want watching the Euros at The Duke of Wellington to be the next best thing to being in the stadium and will be going all out to create a fantastic atmosphere.”

Paul and Gabby want to make the pub a hub of the community. There will be an extended selection of wines and spirits as well as the introduction of new activities, such as women’s sports and quiz and music nights.

Sarah Bramley, Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager for Brighton: “The Duke of Wellington is a much loved local, and we’re delighted to have invested in it to take it to the next level. The pub looks amazing – it’s somewhere everyone will enjoy, sports fans or not. With Paul and Gabby behind the bar, The Duke of Wellington will continue to go from strength to strength. They’re brilliant hosts and full of ideas and enthusiasm. We wish them all the best!”

Have you also read: Newly-opened cycle lane on Madeira Drive will 'make it safer for everyone' | Brighton & Hove Independent ('t forget to buy your copy of the new Brighton Indy, available in newsagents from this Friday (June 4) for £1.