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Essex Road pub The New Rose undergoing £500k makeover before reopening under new name

PUBLISHED: 10:40 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:40 16 January 2020

The New Rose, Essex Road, Islington is undergoing a renovation.
Licensee Lucas Owen
. Picture: Matt Grayson

The New Rose, Essex Road, Islington is undergoing a renovation. Licensee Lucas Owen . Picture: Matt Grayson

Copyright (2019) Matt Grayson, all right reserved

Embattled Essex Road pub The New Rose is undergoing a £500,000 makeover ahead of a fresh start and a name change.

The New Rose in Essex Road, which will be renamed The Alpaca. Picture: Matt GraysonThe New Rose in Essex Road, which will be renamed The Alpaca. Picture: Matt Grayson

The early Victorian boozer on the corner of Popham Street, previously known as The Half Moon, has had a succession of temporary operators over the last two years, and was closed for seven months.

It has now been taken over by licensee Lucas Owen, who is revamping it alongside landlord Star Pubs and Bars. It will be known as The Alpaca, due to the animal being known for its "strong individual personality".

Work is expected to take eight weeks and the pub should reopen in early March.

Bosses say it will remain a "proper pub" with more cask, craft and local beers. A new food menu will be introduced using ingredients from local suppliers including Steve Hatt fishmonger's next door.

The New Rose, Essex Road, is undergoing a renovation. Picture: Matt GraysonThe New Rose, Essex Road, is undergoing a renovation. Picture: Matt Grayson

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Lucas, who has worked in the industry for 15 years, said: "The area has lost a number of its pubs in recent years and there's been concern that the New Rose would become a chain bar or even close altogether.

"My aim is to restore it as a great local. It's a beautiful old pub but had lost its way; I want to bring it back to life and into the 21st century as a modern pub that is an asset to Islington.

"It will be independently operated so will maintain Essex Road's reputation for having a great choice of independent businesses and shops."

The distinctive green tiling exterior will be renovated, with new signing and lighting added. A new beer garden will also open up at the back.

The aim is to hold a programme of events including comedy, quizzes, food nights and fundraisers and open up a first-floor function room.

Will Rice of Star Pubs said: "Lucas is a highly experienced licensee with an excellent track record for operating popular London pubs.

"We're delighted to be able to support him in reviving the New Rose's fortunes so that it thrives as a fantastic local pub."

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