As reported by Inksplott earlier this year, The Cottage, one of Splott’s few remaining pubs, has recently undergone a change in management.
Former landlord and landlady, Matthew and Allison Wheeler, left at the end of April and new managers, Rhys Lewis and Dane Welsher, took up the baton in May.
Inksplott took a trip to the pub on Open Mic night to speak to Rhys and find out what his ambitions are for the pub. Rhys was kind enough to give an interview:
“Hi, I’m Rhys Lewis, the Landlord of The Cottage, and I’m in partnership with Dane Welsher, a friend of mine. We’ve just taken on the pub and have been here for four weeks. Before this, I had the Royal Oak for four years but had a gap of around five years before taking this on.”
Inksplott: so why did you decide to take on The Cottage?
“Something needed to be done in the area; it’s quiet and there are no pubs up this end. We noticed that it was only opening at 3pm and losing a lot of trade, so we decided to capitalise on it and opened the doors from 12. Now the pub is open from 12 until 11pm, seven days a week.”
Inksplott: do you do food?
“We do Sunday lunches for £6.50 and you can have chicken, beef or lamb. Lunch is served 12 to 4pm.”
Inksplott: I know you like music (I may have frequented the Oak once or twice over the years), what are your plans for here?
“We have disco / karaoke on a Friday, free jukebox on a Saturday, open-mic every other Sunday, poker on a Thursday and a skittles team plays every other Thursday.”
Inksplott: what are your hopes for the pub?
“Well I’m hoping to get it to where I got the Royal Oak, which was to the top where we had the best nights ever, as you know yourself (I promised Rhys I wouldn’t edit that bit out). I mean, hopefully, we can get this pub to the top. We’ve got a skittle alley here (cunningly hidden under the floor in the main seating area) which we didn’t have in the Royal Oak, we had a good darts team, which we’re looking to restart, and we’ve got a pool team. We’ve also got poker nights on a Thursday night, so there’s something happening nearly every night.”
Inksplott: so you would like the community to come and reinvestigate The Cottage?
“Definitely. The neighbours have been really supportive, popping in most nights and they’ve told us that they’re really pleased to see the pub busy again. It’s doing really well.”
Inksplott: we couldn’t help notice that the pub isn’t bright pink anymore (it’s recently been painted brown)…
“Yes, the pink is gone. But we’re not going to leave it brown – we’re going to go back to the forest green that it was before.”
Inksplott: That’ll be nice! So, tell us a secret about Splott or something that we wouldn’t know.
“I don’t know because I’m not from Splott am I!? Um, all I can say is that they’ve got a good sense of humour in Splott. I couldn’t get away with what I do and say anywhere else other than Splott! People like a joke in Splott.”
Rhys went on to tell Inksplott some of his plans for the pub, which he considers a work-in-progress. A new shower room has been fitted out the back for lorry drivers to use for a set fee (with a pint included!) and the faux gas fire in the main room will be
replaced with a proper log-burner for the winter (this one I’m really looking forward to).
Two new pumps will be installed next week with Dumbar and Atlantic ale on offer for a trial period. The best seller will stay permanently while the other pump will be given over to a guest ale each month.
The caricature artwork is staying on the walls though, which is a nice hat-doff to the former landlords.
Splott has lost so many of its pubs in the last ten years, the New Dock and the Canadian particularly missed, and it’s great to see new life breathed into one of the last ones standing. Rhys and Dane seem to have boundless energy and are obviously committed to making The Cottage a real community pub again, enjoyed by all.
Inksplott wishes them well and hopes that the community gets behind them to keep The Cottage not just open but thriving.
You can find The Cottage on Sanquhar Street, Splott. Follow them on Facebook to get regular updates The Cottage or on Twitter @CottageSplott