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Brown Bear ready for new lease of life

The Brown Bear pub on Hide Hill in Berwick.' Picture by Jane Coltman
The Brown Bear pub on Hide Hill in Berwick.' Picture by Jane Coltman

The historic Brown Bear pub in Berwick town centre has closed – for now.

The Hide Hill venue has been taken over by the operators of The Barrels Ale House and Charlie’s.

It had reopened as a social enterprise in late 2016 after being taken on by a community group led by project manager Mark Dodds.

In a statement released on Friday, directors said: ‘Due to erratic trading conditions combined with building maintenance issues the directors of the Brown Bear have had to close the business.

‘Heartfelt thanks to the many people who’ve supported the pub from the outset and our long term vision for major regeneration of the entire town centre site around the foundations of a community owned mixed use multi function Living Wage Foundation accredited not for profit social enterprise pub and social hub.

‘It came close but circumstances kept the long term vision out of reach.

‘Special thanks to our stakeholder group who put so much time into helping develop the long term proposition; the remarkable staff who put so much into turning business around since June; our extraordinary suppliers who supported the business from the start.’

The directors also apologised to community groups and organisations planning to use its meeting room.

Earlier this year the team announced it was putting together a long-term business plan for development of the pub and expanding its activities across the whole site, with plans to redevelop the extensive back yard.

These included has plans for an outdoor kitchen and micro-brewery and, further down the line, to build 11 en-suite rooms and four artisan workshops and create The Bear Pit, a club hosting comedy, jazz and exhibitions.