Heineken to reopen closed pubs

Brewing group Heineken is investing £39m to refurbish and reopen pubs in its ‘Star Pubs’ chain.

As part of the investment, 62 sites that were closed in recent years will be reopened. By the end of the year, the group will have reopened 156 long-term closed locals since the start of 2023 — reducing the number of closed pubs in its estate to pre-pandemic levels.

Another 612 pubs — a quarter of Heineken UK’s total estate of 2,400 — are in line for improvement, with 94 of these set for makeovers costing on average £200,000.

With more people working from home or looking to save on travel, major refurbishments will focus on modernising pubs in suburban areas to broaden their use and appeal, giving customers additional reasons to visit. Distinct zones — delineated with dividing screens and changes to lighting, sound systems and furniture styles — aim to enable different groups to simultaneously enjoy a variety of activities such as watching sports and dining without disturbing each other.

“People are looking for maximum value from visits to their local,” said Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs. “They want great surroundings and food and drink as well as activities that give them an extra reason to go out, such as sports screenings and entertainment. Creating fantastic locals that can accommodate a range of occasions meets this need and helps pubs fulfil their role as vital third spaces where communities can come together.”

Other planned changes include overhauling cellars with state-of-the-art dispense equipment to ensure consistently perfect pints and repositioning tills to speed up service. Meanwhile, new energy efficiency measures such as heating controls, insulation and low-energy lighting are expected to cut each pub’s energy use by 15%.