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We’re just about half way through the year and we are pleased to have already played a part in refurbishing a host of existing establishments as well as some completely new ones.

So far we’ve furnished restaurants, bars, cafés, pubs, clubs and some more obscure venues.

Although we are proud of our part in all of them, here are some of our particular favourites from 2019:

Arty’s

Boasting picturesque views across Portsmouth Harbour from its Royal Clarence Marina location, Arty’s is a popular choice of restaurant.

The restaurant already had a unique, quirky interior but this year, Arty’s recently underwent a refurbishment that included a new colour scheme, artwork and additional pieces of furniture.

The Farmhouse table was selected as the perfect table to match with the restaurant’s eclectic theme. With a white under frame and legs combined with a walnut finish solid wood top, the table is a popular choice for quirky bistros and fashionable eateries.

Take a look at the makeover.

Alzheimer Scotland

Alzheimer Scotland, the leading dementia organisation in Scotland, launched a new project in 2019 that uses the social elements associated with a trip to the pub to help people living with dementia, their friends and family socialise in a comfortable environment.

‘Beer with Buddies’ is a new traditional style pub onsite at Alzheimer Scotland’s Paisley day centre that acts as a deterrent for social isolation.

We were pleased to play a small part in the launch of this worthwhile project by supplying the furniture.

Read more about the project and take a look at the interior.

Roe Green CC

This village cricket club found in the suburbs of Manchester decided to enlarge and refurbish the bar and clubhouse in a bid to encourage punters of Roe Green to use their facilities instead of local pubs.

The cricket club decided upon our Bar Furniture Package that includes three square shaker poseur tables and 12 tall squareback stools were the best choice for their needs.

We think that the new furniture looks great in the cricket club and matches seamlessly with the chairs and sofas already in place.

Take a look at the refurbishment project.

Contract furniture supplier

If you like the look of these interiors, and think it’s about time you gave yours a refresh, take a look at our range of commercial furniture.

The summer season is tantalisingly close and for restaurant owners, that means the busiest period of the year is about to begin. Top to bottom, inside and out there are plenty of creative and refreshing changes you can make to your restaurant in preparation for the high season.

The great outdoors

No matter how small your outside space is, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to splash a bit of summer over your restaurant’s garden, patio or outside bar. As the temperatures rise, little is needed in the way of enticing your guests outside, but there are simple things that can be done to keep them there.

Making the most of your outdoor space by adding tables and chairs can be a great way to encourage guests to sit in the sun. At Trent, we supply an extensive range of outdoor furniture to suit your requirements. From the light-weight aluminium poseur table, ideal for any pub garden or patio to the attractive black rattan plaza chair and grate, we have everything you need to make the most of your space.

Why not think about adding lights to your space, or investing in summer linens and crockery? Make your outdoor space appealing by tidying up and de-weeding.

Bring summer indoors

If outside space is limited, there are plenty of things you can do inside to reflect the summer weather outside. Freshening up your furniture with bright and colourful cushions, or adding flowers to your table and bar decorations are a simple way to make a big change.

Adjusting your floor plan too, can really open up the layout of your restaurant. Fewer tables inside can make for more comfortable dining, especially in the summer’s heat, and ensuring the windows are open will help to blow away the winter cobwebs. Bar stools are a great space-saving addition to any establishment, whilst creating a friendly and sociable atmosphere in the evenings. At Trent, we stock and supply a range of wooden bar stools, in a light, medium and dark oak, suitable for any restaurant environment.

Change it up in the kitchen

Give your guests a reason to visit your restaurant, update your menu to reflect the summer time season! Think about adding smaller dishes that can be enjoyed alongside drinks, or extending your kitchen hours since days are longer and people will want to dine late into the evening. Making your menu colourful and attractive will help you stay ahead of the competition.

Why not think about offering evening foodie events? From tapas for two to summer buffets, there’s plenty of reasons to make your restaurant the hot-spot to enjoy the weather.

For even more hints and tips to make your establishment stand out from the crowd, read our wide collection of blog posts.  Over the phone or online, Trent are here to help you with all your furniture needs! Contact us today.

For even more hints and tips to make your establishment stand out from the crowd, read our wide collection of blog posts.  Over the phone or online, Trent are here to help you with all your furniture needs! Contact us today.

At Trent, we know that furniture plays a huge part in the popularity of your pub, and creating an inviting space for guests to relax in can work in your favour.  If you’re starting from scratch or planning a complete overhaul, we’re here to help you choose the best furniture that reflects the style of your pub.

Cast Iron

Instantly adding a sense of heritage to your pub, cast iron furniture is hard-wearing as well as visually appealing with its Victorian charm. If your pub has an old, rugged charm about it, why not take advantage of its appeal and decorate with furniture to match.  We offer a wide choice of traditional decorative cast iron furniture pieces, many of which are based on classic designs from the Victorian era. Our Single Lionhead Poseur Table is a popular choice and customisable with its range of table tops. Choose from solid hardwood or veneer table tops in light oak, dark oak or walnut as well as laminate and melamine tops, a poseur table become a stylish place to rest freshly poured drinks on.

Paired with a brown leather chair in a cosy, fire-side pub corner, a cast iron table can make for a traditional feel. But what about your outdoor space? At Trent, we use quality iron and a powder coating process during production, ensuring that our furniture withstands weathering. Cast iron tables have heavy bases offering strength and stability in windy conditions, making it easier to decorate with a consistent style indoors as well as outdoors.  

Wooden Furniture

Offering bags of rustic charm, decorating with wooden furniture can give your pub the desirable homely feel it deserves. From a creamy, country kitchen look to a chic, dark wood and modern twist, the possibilities to create a unique style to your pub are endless.

For example, our rectangular farmhouse table is the perfect choice to accommodate large groups of people, and when paired with the matching farmhouse range, will create a traditional feel. Available in dark and light oak colours, the standout turned leg feature, gives this table an attractive appearance that complements a country or modern decorative style.

As furniture experts and pub-goers ourselves, we know that a pub table needs to be strong and durable, and as such we use the very best oak and walnut hardwoods. To help protect the tops against the inevitable food and drink spills, we apply veneers and finishes to ensure our tables are stain resistant and less prone to damage from heat.

We have over 60 years’ experience in supplying contract furniture from our Leicestershire headquarters to catering industries up and down the country. To full our full range of pub furniture, follow the link to our product page. Online or over the phone, we’re here to help you find the right product at the right price. Get in contact with us on 0116 2989 838 or email your enquiry to sales@pubfurnitureuk.co.uk.

It’s the most popular spirit in the UK, having recently overtaken whisky and vodka in a survey of our favourite drinks. It has a long, fascinating and chequered history as a drink that has led to riots and ruin, as well as helping to ward off disease and sickness. And its recent resurgence has come about thanks to the growth of hundreds of “craft” gins and small distilleries that are satisfying our thirst for authentic alternatives to the big global brands. Gin is back.

Gin has a long and colourful heritage. Like many spirits, it began life as a medicinal beverage. It’s not known where it was first distilled, but it’s likely that it came out of a medieval monastery, where juniper berries, valued for their medicinal properties, were used to flavour the harsh raw spirit to make a drink known as genever (the Dutch for juniper). Genever (also known as jenever) was taken up in a big way in the Low Countries, and indeed is still drunk there today. It’s thought that it was drunk by English soldiers during the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 17th century to give them “Dutch courage”. English speakers shortened “genever” to “gen”, which eventually became gin.

A pint of ruin

When William and Mary took over the English throne in 1689, William put a tax on imports of French brandy and encouraged the distillation of gin, his own preferred drink (being Dutch). This unleashed a period of social upheaval that culminated in the “gin craze” of the first half of the 18th century, when hundreds of distilleries sprang up, many based in ordinary houses. There was a time when a pint of gin was cheaper than a pint of beer. The results were ruinous. Crime and ill-health soared as an increasingly ungovernable population soused itself in cheap gin. Little wonder that gin gained the nickname of “kill me quick”. Often it was flavoured with turpentine.

One response to this crisis was Hogarth’s famous engraving, Gin Lane, in which the disastrous impact of gin-drinking on that street’s ravaged inhabitants is contrasted with the healthy and morally upright citizens of Beer Street. Eventually, governments raised taxes on gin. At the same time, the price of grain was rising. These factors put an end to the gin craze by the middle of the 18th century.

Bitter experience

Elsewhere in the world, gin was actually responsible for bringing about improvements in health. As the British Empire expanded into tropical countries where malaria was rife, quinine - extracted from the bark of a tree - was used as a treatment. Quinine has a bitter taste, so it was mixed with gin to make it more palatable. The gin and tonic was born - a quintessentially English drink, made from a spirit with Dutch origins, mixed with the extract of a tropical tree. Today’s tonic waters still contain a small amount of quinine.

Meanwhile, for seasick voyagers and mariners, gin was mixed with aromatic bitters, such as Angostura, to settle their stomachs. The pink gin was born.

Wherever the British Empire spread to, gin went with it too, and one beneficiary was the Plymouth distillery, Coates, which began distilling gin in 1793. Being located in a major naval centre meant that Coates became one of the best-known gin brands across the Empire: at one point, it was supplying the Royal Navy with 1,000 barrels of gin a year. In 2004 it was renamed Plymouth Gin, and is now the oldest British gin distillery still operating in its original location.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, improvements in distilling techniques were helping to create smoother, more refined gins that became popular with the middle and upper classes. London dry gin mixed with tonic became a thoroughly respectable drink, and the rehabilitation of gin seemed complete.

Still crazy

However, gin was to experience another blow to its prestige - this time across the Atlantic, where prohibition in America led to the emergence of thousands of illicit stills, making gins (and other sprits) that were of very poor quality. These became known as “bathtub gins”, although they were not actually made in bathtubs - the name came about probably because the bottles were too tall to be topped off with water in a sink, so this had to be done via bath taps. (In tribute to this era, there is now a brand of gin called Bathtub Gin, made by Ableforth’s in the West Midlands.) Once again, gin became associated with crime and social breakdown.

Another negative association came in George Orwell’s novel 1984, in which the populace is subdued with endless cups of cheap and nasty “Victory Gin”, as in this passage: “As always, the gin made him shudder and even retch slightly. The stuff was horrible.”

But gin today iis a drink that genuinely transcends social boundaries. Though the gin and tonic has snooty associations, it has also enjoyed enduring popularity among working-class drinkers. The rock band Oasis, at the height of “lad” culture, referenced “gin and tonic” in their hit song, “Supersonic”.

Sloes and seaweed

And then, around a decade ago, something remarkable happened: a sudden flowering of new gin brands. As with the era of the “gin craze”, a change in regulations has helped this huge growth of “boutique” distilleries. To begin with, when the gin distillers Sipsmith wanted to distill gin in small quantities, HMRC said this would technically be classed as “moonshine” and banned it. Fierce lobbying led to a change in the rules, making it possible for micro-distilleries to flourish.

These new “craft” gins come in all manner of styles and flavours, among them seaweed and nettles, as well as the more traditional botanicals, and sloe gin and damson gin. Inevitably, the big distillers are trying to get in on the act, but the real growth is in the smaller companies (Sipsmith has now been taken over by the global drinks giant Beam Suntory).

The growth of gin - the “ginaissance” - has unleashed a new generation of distillers, who relish the ability to combine creativity and technology to create unique new drinks. Reflecting the somewhat mixed heritage of gin, there is even a small distillery in east London called Mother’s Ruin, many of whose ingredients are home-grown or foraged from the surrounding countryside. Mother’s Ruin also has a small gin and cocktail bar, the Gin Palace, on the site of its distillery: the “vibe” is casual, with eclectic bar furniture and people sitting outside in the warmer months.

A touch of glass

So what does this mean for those running pubs and bars? The first thing is that customers will often now ask for a gin by brand. People are getting to know their gins, and this connoisseurship should be rewarded by offering a range of gins. Tonic waters and other mixers, too, have become much more sophisticated, with brands such as Fever Tree offering alternatives to the old fizzy stalwarts (sssh, you know who). And remember that gin forms the basis of many cocktails, so putting these on your drinks menu will liven up your offering.

Think about what kind of glasses it should be served in, perhaps opting for something chunkier and more characterful. Many of today’s gin-drinkers prefer lime to lemon, and either way, they want it fresh, not from a preserving jar. Ask before adding ice, as some prefer it without. You could hold special gin-tasting evenings, setting aside an area of your pub for a sampling session.

As well as being a pleasure to drink, the new-generation gins can be a talking point. A bottle of Mother’s Ruin or Bathtub Gin on the shelf of your pub or bar would be sure to get the customers talking.

It’s official: today’s youngsters are a bunch of lightweights. Well: that’s one way of putting it. You might prefer to describe them as “generation sensible”. Last year, a study of nearly 10,000 young people in the UK confirmed what many have long suspected - that young people are shunning alcohol.

The study found that between 2005 and 2015, the numbers of people aged 16 to 24 who described themselves as non-drinkers rose from 18 per cent to 29 per cent, while the numbers who had never drunk alcohol rose from 9 per cent to 17 per cent. So: almost a third of British youngsters do not drink alcohol. This is quite a turnaround.

The study did not investigate why this is happening, and there are many theories to explain this shift in drinking patterns, health being foremost among them. But whatever the explanation, this represents a dramatic change in the nation’s drinking habits; for most people of middle age and older, drinking alcohol in their younger years was a formative experience, a kind of proving ground, often beginning with under-age drinking. Getting drunk or having “a few too many” was seen by many as part of a normal night out.

So this new abstemiousness is good news for the livers and other major organs of the younger generation - but not so good news for people who run pubs and bars, where alcohol is of course an essential part of the offering. Pubs are closing at a rate of 18 a week and this shift in drinking habits is not helping to keep them open.

The zero heroes

But now brewers are beginning to fight back by developing alcohol-free beers and ciders that can compete with the “real” thing in terms of flavour and style. So if you run a pub or a bar, you would be wise to consider stocking a decent range of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks, as they are soaring in popularity: another recent study found that sales of low-alcohol and alcohol-free beer have seen a rise of 381 per cent since 2017.

Those with long memories will remember early attempts at alcohol-free beers such as Barbican, which resembled beer in its colour and fizziness rather than its actual taste (interestingly, Barbican is now sold as a “non-alcoholic malt beverage” in Muslim countries where alcohol is forbidden). But today’s offerings are much more sophisticated, the results of years of painstaking research.

Low in alcohol, big on flavour

So how are they made? Essentially, they are brewed in the same way as a regular beer, using the same ingredients. Then the alcohol is removed, either by heating the beer, which causes the alcohol to evaporate, or by a process called reverse osmosis, which uses a series of filters at a cold temperature. These processes can affect the taste, and the technique of injecting carbon dioxide to give the product its “fizz” can leave a metallic aftertaste, but new methods have been developed to retain those essential beer flavours. The results are often flavoursome and satisfying brews, with beer experts often giving them the thumbs up in taste tests.

Brewing giants such as Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken have launched dozens of low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beers in the past three years. Among them is Heineken’s 0.0 and Budweiser’s Prohibition - whose name harks back to the origins of low-alcohol beer in Prohibition-era America. Guinness has developed a lager, Open Gate, which has 0.5 per cent alcohol.

Smaller brewers have also entered the market with low-alcohol beers such as Brew Dog’s amusingly named Nanny State. And now alcohol-free beers have received the ultimate seal of approval from the Campaign for Real Ale, whose Great British Beer Festival last year offered alcohol-free beer for the first time in its history. These were from the Dutch craft brewery Braxzz, which has developed an alcohol-free IPA, amber ale and the world’s first alcohol-free porter.

These beers are not only low in alcohol or alcohol-free; they are low in calories, too, typically containing around half the calorie count of regular beer - another selling point among health-conscious youngsters. Some Olympic athletes have started using non-alcoholic beer as a recovery drink, partly because it helps them to rehydrate, but also because drinking beer is a social activity and drinking alcohol-free beer ensures that they don’t miss out on the fun. This is a key factor for anyone running a pub or bar: people like drinking together, and these days it doesn’t seem to matter whether or not the drink contains alcohol.

Naught percent profits

For the publican and bar owner, the advantage of these new products is that they carry little or no duty, thus increasing your profit. There has been some consumer resistance to the fact that most of these beers are served in bottles. If you want to sit and sup a pint of one of these beers, you’ll usually need to buy, and pour, two bottles, which can be expensive. But now brewers are upping their game even further by offering low-alcohol beers on tap. The Suffolk-based brewer St Peter’s, for instance, now offers its alcohol-free beer Without on draught, as well as in bottles.

Canny publicans and bar owners will serve these beers as part of a wider push to attract younger drinkers. For many youngsters, the pub is seen as an off-puttingly old-fashioned place, but there are ways to freshen up your offering. Free Wi-Fi is a necessity, so if you don’t have it, you would be advised to install it - and make sure that the password is well publicised.

Furniture, too, can make a difference. By introducing more contemporary-looking pub chairs and pub tables, you can give your pub or bar interior a livelier, more eclectic appearance. You don’t need to go for a complete overhaul - but a mixture of traditional furniture and newer pieces will help create a more youth-friendly “vibe”. Tables such as Trent Furniture’s Shaker table in a light oak finish will add a touch of cool, while Trent Furniture’s Tall Dakota chrome bar stool will introduce shine and clean lines.

Your drinks offering, meanwhile, could be extended to include not just alcohol-free and low-alcohol beers, but low-low-alcohol ciders, too (one of the most popular is from Stowford Press). And there is plenty of fun to be had with alcohol-free cocktails. Many pubs and bars now offer tea and coffee, with an espresso machine behind the bar. And the trend for pubs to offer activities and experiences seems to be here to stay.

So perhaps there is life yet in that grand old British institution, the pub. It has had to adapt in the past in order to survive, and now it will need to adapt again to cater to the tastes and habits of the sensible, clean-living younger generation.

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