LANDMARK Stratford pub The Dirty Duck has reopened following a revamp.
The pub, a regular haunt of thespians and dating back to the 18th century, closed its doors to punters in May for a major six-figure refurbishment.
And it is now reopen following an overhaul of the grade II listed building’s interior and exterior facade, as well as the waterside terrace which overlooks the River Avon.
Celebrated as being Stratford’s ‘real’ theatre pub, thanks to its proximity to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and its popularity with RSC actors over the decades, it has been known as the Black Swan since 1776 but was given the nickname ‘The Dirty Duck’ by locals.
It is the only pub in England to have a license under two names and was taken over by pub company and brewer Greene King in 2004.
To ensure the pub kept its theatrical past front and centre throughout the refurbishment, Greene King enlisted consultant, writer, and pub historian Pete Brown to advise on how best to merge the historical and modern worlds that the pub sits in.
The month-long refurb included changes to the interior and exterior, as well as the creation of a new outdoor VIP area in the garden.
To preserve the history of the pub, several existing features have been enhanced, including existing brickwork in the rear dining room, panelling, and wood flooring.
The well-loved double sided hanging bar sign will be replaced with a new look sign that will still retain The Black Swan and The Dirty Duck imagery on either side. The original sign has been rehomed in the new VIP garden area, ensuring it remains pride of place.
In the Actors Bar, so called because of its popularity with RSC actors over the years, the signed images from actors, including Peter O’ Toole, Laurence Olivier, Richard Attenborough, Michael Sheen and Dame Helen Mirren have been retained and given new frames.
A table which features actor’s autographs – including that of Dame Judi Dench – has also been preserved with lacquer to protect the signatures and now takes pride of place in the Actors Bar window space.
And as the pub’s heritage traces back to 1776, the interior has taken on a Georgian influence with modern elements, interspersed throughout, including hints of bronze and marble on the bar and tables.
New features include new stone flooring throughout with plenty of fixed seating indoors, as well as a new look bar in the Actors Bar, which features a new back bar display area.
The outdoor area retains the existing pergolas with heaters and multiple planters inspired by the Georgian era.
Antony Wadeson, General Manager at The Dirty Duck, said, “The Dirty Duck is a place steeped in history and over the years it’s become a cornerstone of the local community. The transformation is now complete, and we’re so pleased that the traditional elements of the pub have been retained and upgraded as part of the refurbishment.
“The whole team are thrilled to be re-opening the pub and we can’t wait to welcome back both old and new customers to ‘The Dirty Duck’.”