Wetherspoon's has revealed the opening date for its new hotel and bar in Chester city centre.
The national chain bought The Bull and Stirrup in Upper Northgate Street two years ago with the promise of a £2.3m investment but it has remained boarded up ever since.
However, last month work finally started to convert the historic pub into a Wetherspoon’s venue.
Company spokesman Eddie Gershon confirmed: “The pub and hotel will open on February 28, 2017.”
Planning and listed building consent has already been obtained for a single storey rear extension and internal alterations to provide 10 refurbished hotel bedrooms with en-suite facilities and new toilet facilities to upper floors.
And the premises licence has been amended so the pub can open from 7am and sell alcohol on and off the premises from 9am seven-days-a-week.
Wetherspoon’s founder and chairman Tim Martin visited the city’s other venue The Square Bottle over the summer to talk to staff but also promote his pro-Brexit stance.
He explained the background as to why his company had decided to invest in The Bull and Stirrup on the other side of the city centre but also sell its Forest House outlet in Love Street to the company behind the Brewhouse and Kitchen brand.
Tim said: “We made a strategic error a dozen years ago, but mostly in the aftermath of the credit crunch when a lot of pubs came up for sale and we opened – if we had a very good pub like The Square Bottle – we opened a second pub too close to the first.
“So we think we can definitely have two pubs in Chester. But The Bull is a much better location for pub number two than right next door to pub number one.”
The Bull and Stirrup has an interesting history.
For example, on August 31, 1972, the pub famously hosted a strike committee, including one Ricky Tomlinson, which led to the first ever national strike by building workers.
Ricky was among the 24-strong ‘Shrewsbury Pickets’ later prosecuted for unlawfully plotting to intimidate workers on building sites into joining the action and he served 16 months in jail. The surviving pickets are still fighting to clear their names.
And in 2005, there was a furore when The Bull and Stirrup hosted erotic table top dancing in an upstairs room in a first for the city centre.