Inverness pub reopens following major revamp

AN Inverness pub has reopened following what’s said to be Star Pubs & Bars’ biggest ever pub refurbishment in Scotland.

The pub company and veteran operator Billy McAneney have breathed new life into Blackfriars, on the city’s Academy Street, with a £1.36 million project, which included external work on the category B-listed building; the refurbishment, which was funded in part by a £422,606 grant from The Inverness Townscape Heritage Project, included the removal of rendering to reveal the original stonework, the installation of traditional sash and case windows, the building’s chimneys being rebuilt and its roof replaced.

Inside, the refurbishment has created a “striking, contemporary brasserie” feel with stripped floors, exposed brickwork and a vibrant colour scheme, while ground floor toilets were replaced and the venue’s kitchen extended. In addition, nine en suite letting rooms were added in the building’s two upper storeys.

McAneney said the work at Blackfriars – his fourth site with Star Pubs & Bars and the twelfth hospitality business in which he has an interest – has created a “high quality pub specialising in outstanding locally-sourced food”.

“Inverness continues to go from strength to strength as a city and a holiday destination,” he said.

“It’s exciting to be part of its renaissance. We’ve tried to bring something different to Inverness in terms of design as well as to celebrate the area’s food and drink.

“Our aim has been to create a place that both locals and visitors enjoy and that caters for all occasions, whether it’s a light lunch, celebration dinner or drinks or a coffee with friends.”

Brian Davidson, Star Pubs & Bars operations director for Scotland, said the revamp was no small endeavour.

“Blackfriars is a historic building and needed a vast amount of work to restore it properly,” he said.

“The grant from The Inverness Townscape Heritage Project has made the work economically viable and helped us enable Billy to develop a multi-income stream business and a premium venue that does justice to the building.

“Billy is highly experienced in all areas of the hospitality sector. It has been fantastic to work with him on this project and bring Blackfriars back to life.”