All Bells and Whistles at a local pub of distinction
The Bell in Ticehurst, East Sussex, has impeccable quirky credentials and a global pandemic won’t dim their aesthetic ambition. Mustering a local workforce, who had just finished a fabulous refurbishment of their function rooms prior to lockdown, the already gorgeous garden at The Bell has been lavished with care and creativity to safe and convivial spaces to eat and drink.
The Potting Shed platform has been designed with intrigue in mind. Corrugated iron pods, reminiscent of allotment sheds, for groups of four to six will delight customers as dining is taken al fresco for the summer creating 60 extra covers in all. Farms and salvage yards scoured for authentic pieces to layer the look, supplemented by bits of this and that donated by customers, bring an installation together that wouldn’t be out of place at a hip musical festival. As Head Chef Oscar cooks up a storm on an industrial-sized barbecue, service has resumed in a very different way from where they left off.
The Bell has gently emerged from lockdown one well considered step at a time. On re-opening, food service was Friday to Sunday but this week sees the return of a seven days a week offer with new and exciting menus cooked outdoors over open flame. More staff will be brought back from furlough as room bookings build.
For owner Richard Upton, a surveyor by day, a benefit of lockdown kept him close to the business and able to take a hands-on role preparing for the re-opening. “Many pubs have not raced to open opting to keep staff furloughed until the end of July, which probably makes good business sense. The Bell is, first and foremost, a community pub which happens to have been very successful on the rooms and events side of the business. We felt it important to open as soon as we could, to serve those who have missed the social interaction and connection with their local community. Without the pub, some of our customers don’t see a soul from one day to the next. We need to open for them. Bookings for our bedrooms are building, bringing visitors to the village who spend money in the excellent small businesses we have in this particularly vibrant village.”
The Bell is currently open from 12 noon to 10pm daily, also serving breakfast for residents. www.thebellinticehurst.com 01580 200300