Sleaford couple to open new venture Watergate Yard after leaving Bar 51

Ryan and Hollie Blankley in their new premises, to be known as Watergate Yard. EMN-180522-104316001
Ryan and Hollie Blankley in their new premises, to be known as Watergate Yard. EMN-180522-104316001

A Sleaford pub that has been closed and up for sale for some time is to get a new lease of life with the arrival of an enthusiastic new couple in charge.

Ryan and Hollie Blankley had run Bar 51 in Sleaford for nine months until a sudden split with their business partners brought the venture to an end in February.

At the time they pledged to open a new venue and have now secured a lease for a minimum of seven years to run the former Rose and Crown pub in Watergate.

Renamed Watergate Yard, Hollie, who still works part-time as a primary school teacher, said: “We are here to stay this time. This property has a bar and bigger kitchen without having to share it with the cellar, as we did before. It has an outside area and five en-suite guest bedrooms which we will eventually run as a business too.”

They hope to open in mid-June, giving themselves a month to prepare and decorate, with the help from family and friends.

Hollie said: “There is a lot to do to turn it into the style that Ryan and I like. Bar 51 was vintage industrial style decor. This time that vintage feel will be there but more in keeping with the building, which is hundreds of years old.”

She added: “We are in a strong position as we are independent of any brewery but will be keeping up with our premium brands, working with Peroni and having some of the other beers they have, as well as other breweries, plus a large spirits and gins selection.

“We will be offering a wider variety of food.”

Reflecting on Bar 51, she said they were confident in the business decisions they made, which made it successful and profitable.

She said they had learned a lot from their first venture to take into this new one: “We were hugely overwhelmed when we announced we had closed. I didn’t realise how popular we were. We hope we will be able to match everyone’s expectations again and exceed them.”