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Oakman Group reopens Berkshire pub after £2.1m restoration

The Oakman Group has reopened one of Wokingham’s notable Grade II-listed pubs, The Rose Inn, this week.

The group, which acquired the empty site in 2019, has reopened the 19th Century venue following a painstaking £2.1m restoration and redesign, sympathetic to the building’s history and character.

With some parts of the original site dating back to the 16th century, the building and courtyard were once part of Wokingham’s historic Burgage Plot and now provide 30 new jobs in the market town.

The new pub and restaurant can accommodate up to 185 guests across a range of settings. Open from Breakfast to Late, the ground floor can cater for 120, while its spacious vaulted first floor has been transformed into a new lounge named The Oakroom linking the Oakman Group’s name and the town’s old name Oakingham. This will also be available for private events.

The extensive building and restoration project involved the installation of a new glass-ceilinged restaurant incorporating part of the former courtyard; a new sweeping open oak staircase leading to The Oakroom; three new bars; The Parlour Room in the form of a country house library; the reinstatement of four fireplaces, original wooden floors and the repair and reinstallation of many old timbers and panelling plus the creation of a Secret Garden with a weather-proof pagoda and container grown herbs and edible flowers.

The theatre-style kitchen continues Oakman’s signature cooking style using an open grill over charcoal, and a domed wood-fired pizza oven to produce their new Autumn/Winter dishes and daily specials which are designed to satisfy a range of dietary tastes and health choices.

The Rose Inn is the group’s 36th opening and eighth since March 2020.

Dermot King, Oakman Group’s CEO, said, “We are very proud of what we’ve created in Wokingham’s town centre and encouraged by the feedback we’ve received so far. General Manager, Will Upton and his team are looking forward to serving great food and drinks and to The Rose playing its part in the community once again.”

King added, “We could not have achieved this without the support of our investors. Since fully re-opening in July 2021, the business has delivered sales growth of 36% versus the same period in 2019 compared with an average of 5% among similar businesses.

'Our strategy of investing in destination sites and large covered spaces and an indigenous supply chain has certainly helped to produce impressive performances and attract the new investment. This is an exciting time for Oakman.

'We have started work on our site in Buckingham which will open next Spring and a further 10 sites in our pipeline could all be trading by the end of 2023. These will be part-funded by an innovative scheme that will allow customers to support us while earning tax-free income from a business-backed ISA.”