The Spread Eagle on Katharine Street re-opens tonight, after a £300,000 refurbishment that seals the handover of the Fuller’s-owned pub to Whelans.
Whelans is an Irish-themed pub chain that already operate several busy pubs in and around Croydon, including the Bedford Tavern on Sydenham Road and the eponynous Whelans in South Croydon.
Whelans, with a new manager, will be running the town centre Spread Eagle as tenants, with bold plans for live music every weekend (starting this Saturday), re-opening the room upstairs for events and possibly performances, and offering what the business owner calls “something for everybody”.
If nothing else, the Spread Eagle’s new opening times – Monday to Saturday, 11am to midnight, Sundays 11am to 10.30pm – are likely to appeal to world-weary councillors after their next Town Hall meeting. Long sessions in the Chamber of the crisis-hit council have often run until after 10pm, when the previous managers were calling last orders.
A previous, brief closure of the Spread Eagle allowed for initial stocktaking and changes.
The pub then closed on May 1 for extensive refurbishments, including replacement equipment and furniture, a new sound system and wide-screen TVs to provide one of the pub’s entertainment staples, televised sport.
The Spread Eagle’s doors are due to open again at 5pm today.
Austin Whelan, the founder of the business, told Inside Croydon: “We want to be a good family-based local. We want to open the function room upstairs for events for our customers. We want to offer something for everybody.
“We’re trying to put on good service and good food, just as we’re known for in our other pubs in the area.”
Read more: Riches-to-rags-to-riches tale of South Croydon publican
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I remember this pub being quite rough when I was younger. I’m surprised they spent so much money on a pub in what the derelict Croydon town centre but I’m glad they have. Hopefully this might help improve the area but I’m not holding my breath. Croydon desperately needs nice places to go otherwise the middle class Croydoners will simply just pop on the train to London instead.
Croydon Council should have asked Whelans to the Fairfield Halls. Might have been done on time and to budget without the money disappearing.
This pub has long been a bright spot in a town centre depleted of people and pubs where you won’t stick to the tables when you reach out for your glass.
This was on my list of three very good un’s where the beer was great and the decor, very nice.
I look forward to a pint of the same Fullers beers (plus a Guinness) under the new Whelan family management. Thanks to them for investing faith and money in the future of this great pub, and lovely building.