WORK is set to start on a £260,000 refurbishment of city pub The Alma Tavern which has been closed for over a year.

Having taken over the Droitwich Road pub in 2018, Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, announced new operators Will Bradley and Jon Dean last month while also “finalising plans” for the long-awaited revamp.

The project, starting on August 4, is expected to take four weeks, with The Alma scheduled to re-open in early September, 17 months after closing down following the departure of previous tenant Tim Churchman.

Outside work will see the pub renovated and repainted with new signage added as well as lighting, while the courtyard garden will get new planting, seating and festoon lighting to turn it into an alfresco eating and drinking area.

Pub bosses say The Alma’s interior will be “completely upgraded and redecorated to make it more comfortable, contemporary and welcoming”, whilst retaining features such as original beams and a log burner.

The skittle alley and function room will also be brought back into use, and a new entrance will provide direct access from the car park.

The kitchen will be refit, the cellar overhauled and new dispense equipment installed.

The duo, who boast 22 years of experience in the pub trade between them, will also seek Cask Marque accreditation and plan to stock local ales as well as coffee and a new range of spirits and wines.

The new tenants who are long-term Worcestershire residents and want their new business to become a hub of the community.

Mr Bradley, who currently works as a chef at The Royal Oak in Catshill, near Bromsgrove, said: “We’ve known The Alma for many years. It was a fantastic pub in its heyday, and our aim is to restore it to its former glory and put it back at the heart of the community where it belongs.”

To that end, the function room will be opened for use by local groups and good causes in need of meeting space. There is also a host of activities planned, from quiz nights to traditional pub games. Skittles and other sports teams will be reinstated, and Sky and BT sports installed along with a drop-down screen in the function room for screenings of major matches and fixtures.

Mr Bradley added: “The designs are fantastic – if we had a magic wand, we couldn’t have done better ourselves. We can’t wait to reopen The Alma and welcome people back.”

Paul Linton, SPB operations director, said: “Will and Jon are experienced licensees and we’re delighted to be working with them to give The Alma a new lease of life.

“We’re firm believers in the future of the Great British pub and are investing £50 million in pubs like The Alma Tavern around the UK this year to help them keep pace with people’s changing needs and expectations and to thrive for the long term.”