THE Pilot Boat in Lyme Regis has won the highly-acclaimed Pub Design Award, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), for a refurbishment project described as a “labour of love”.
The project kicked off in 2015 when owners Palmers Brewery decided that the dated Pilot Boat Inn needed a total rethink to bring it into the modern era.
At the time, the inn was comprised of a modest pub with a large function room and skittle alley, which was underused and disconnected from the pub area.
Working with design agency Concorde BGW, Palmers put together a plan to retain the charms of the old pub as “a refuge for patrons of all ages on a cold wintery night”, whilst creating a fresh and modernised space for warm summer evenings and pub lunches.
A newly-built restaurant and open kitchen were created, which was tastefully connected to the pub area by utilising reclaimed ship timber and a new bi-folding glass wall to create an ‘inside-outside’ feel.
With views out to sea and a nautical theme, the Pilot Boat has proved a hit with residents and visitors since re-opening in spring last year, and has become the perfect place to retreat after a long walk on the beach or for a meal in the bar.
CAMRA celebrating the achievement with a presentation event this week, just days before the launch of its Summer of Pub campaign, which aims to promote pub-going over the warmer months and celebrate the contribution of the great British pub to our heritage.
Andrew Davison, chairman of CAMRA’s judging panel said: “Palmers Brewery has transformed a small, rather run-down pub into a modern, exciting place for the twenty-first century.
“Their architects have gone all out to maximise the use of the site, including an external, first-floor terrace from which you have views of the sea.
“What really impresses is the use of good quality finishes such as the lovely dark blue tiles in the gents’, the oak casing of the piers in the front bar, the rustic character of the bar counter, and – especially – the restrained, non-cliché look of the references to things maritime (when it would have been all too easy to overdo it here).
“No doubt this will long be a thriving watering hole for visitors to the magnificent Jurassic Coast.”
Jim Jones Palmers Tenanted Trade Director, added: “The refurbishment of the Pilot Boat has been Palmers’ largest project to date, breathing new life into the pub and evolving into an iconic landmark destination pub on the Jurassic Coast.
“We are delighted that under the excellent leadership of licensees Angela and Robyn Collyns the Pilot Boat has set sail as a vibrant focal point for locals and a draw for visitors to the area.
“With so much history to the building, we are immensely proud of the way that together with designers Concorde BGW, we managed to capture the character and heritage of the old pub which now leads through to a large contemporary open plan kitchen and restaurant with sun trap roof terrace and three beautifully appointed bedrooms.”
The presentation event for the pub took place on Thursday at the Coopers Tavern in Burton-on-Trent, which won the Historic England Conservation Award and will host the ceremony this year.