Surbiton sports bar to be re-branded as gastropub with trendy outdoor burger shack and themed rooms

Finding a spot in Surbiton to watch the football might get a bit harder, as one of the last remaining sports bars is set to turn into a trendy gastropub covered in “leathers and soft velvets”.

Bosses of the Victoria say they will cancel their Sky and BT Sport subscriptions, sell the TVs and reopen as “a place Surbiton can be proud of”.

It currently boasts four TVs inside, plus a projection screen, and two outside, making it a favourite location for sports fans over the years.

But now the Young’s-owned pub plans to offer an extensive, upmarket menu in an environment of “exposed brickwork and timbers”.

The brewery went to Kingston’s licensing sub-committee yesterday to ask for permission to open an American-style burger shack and create booth seating in the garden of the Victoria Road pub.

Councillors made their decision yesterday, but by law have up to five days to notify Young’s and have not revealed it publicly.

The Vic will also have a series of themed rooms, including one based on the workshop of Surbiton man James Simpson who helped design a sand filtration system that purified cholera contaminated river water.

Young’s solicitor James Anderson told the sub-committee: “At the moment it is a pub that is led very much by sport, but Young’s want to change it into a food-led premises.

“This is a complete change of direction for the pub. Young’s don’t have any other pubs that focus on sport to such a degree.”

Supporting documents show that if the refurb goes ahead the Black Lion, in Brighton Road, will be the only pub in central Surbiton that shows subscription sports on a regular basis.

The Black Lion is also a Young’s pub but is managed independently.

In 2014 Spring Grove regulars started a petition when Young's cancelled the Bloomfield Road pub's sports channels subscription and added a new kitchen and dining area.

The venue has since become a successful gastropub with 4 star Google reviews. 

According to the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers a typical Sky subscription costs about £15,000. BT Sport packages are considerably cheaper.

Mr Anderson added: “Sky television will go and hopefully it will be a very nice premises that Surbiton can be proud of.

“It will still be a pub, because that’s what we run, but with an emphasis on food.”

Kingston Council has recently revised its licensing policy to discourage late night "alcohol-led" venues in favour of wine bar-style pubs, particularly in the town centre. 

Many of Surbiton's pubs have seen revamps or takeovers in recent years. The Grove re-opened in 2013 and the Antelope has turned itself into a craft brewing hotspot.

The Copper Kettle is less saucy than it used to be and the Duke of York, opposite the Vic, has also seen changes.

The Black Lion recently refurbished its garden, and the Waggon and Horses experimented with Thai cuisine but is undergoing another reinvention.


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