Historic Wokingham building that’s been empty for years undergoing a major revamp

A historic building in Wokingham town centre that has been empty for years is undergoing a renovation to transform it back to its original purpose.

The building in Market Place was most recently a Cafe Rouge but closed in 2018.

After languishing for several years, the building will now be getting a major facelift back into a classic pub.

Its new owners, The Oakman Group, plan to restore a number of aspects of the historic building, which was once known as The New Rose.

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The aim is for the boozer to reopen in October.

It’s set to be transformed into a modern, comfortable environment, with Mediterranean-inspired food, which will be created from scratch in the open theatre-style kitchen.

Although the new pub will feel fresh and new to customers, classic features of the old boozer will be highlighted.

Will Upton, general manager, said: “This has been a wonderful voyage of discovery.

“For example, we have found old fireplaces which are being fully restored and we’ve replaced several areas with reclaimed timbers that had been damaged historically in several fires.

“Passers-by will have spotted the many craftsmen, joiners, and other building trades hard at work, and this is a crucial time for the project if we’re to pour our first pint in early October.”

Oakman’s Property Director, Malcolm Schooling, spoke more about the work tying in the old and new.

He said: “One of the central elements is a new steel and glass extension, which is a vital part of the design that will maintain the sense of the historic courtyard and allow the original buildings to be viewed from within the new restaurant.

“We’re all thrilled that the project is now fully underway, and we hope that the people of Wokingham will approve of our careful restoration that is breathing new life into this prominent and significant building in the heart of the town.”

“With The Rose being a new addition to the Oakman family, and since the town was called Oakingham for almost two centuries, we felt it appropriate to name it The Oak Room.”

When it does open, diners will be able to get a full menu, from breakfast to dinner.

The good news for job seekers is the company is looking for new staff.

There will eventually be a team of 30 full and part-time staff.

Will said: “We have some great career opportunities on offer.

Oakman Group’s CEO, Dermot King added: “Until recently, Will was Manager at our flagship pub in Berkshire – The Royal Foresters in Ascot. He has enormous experience and is the right person to be opening The Rose and overseeing the project.

“Wokingham is gaining a good reputation as a food and entertainment destination and with our prominent position in the town, we are looking forward to playing our part in enriching its culture and vibrancy for both visitors and the local community.”

Two recruitment days will be held at Wokingham Town Hall, across the road from the pub, on Saturday, August 14 and Tuesday, August 17.

More information can be found here.

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