Pub reopens under new ownership

Ensuring Cave locals are well looked after are bar manager Hayley Laurie (left), owner Amanda...
Ensuring Cave locals are well looked after are bar manager Hayley Laurie (left), owner Amanda Grenville-Jones and of course the tavern dogs. PHOTOS: CONNOR HALEY
For two long years Cave locals had felt the pub-shaped hole left behind when the Cave Arms Tavern closed its doors.

On February 7, to the surprise of many, the doors opened once more under the new ownership of a previous local — Amanda Grenville-Jones.

Mrs Grenville-Jones returned to Cave a year ago after spending the last two decades in the United Kingdom.

She said constant stories about the pub after returning was part of the reason she bought it.

"I heard all these stories about the pub for six months and about the fact that we didn’t have a pub any more. The guilt just came over and I thought well I need to find a house and the house came with a pub.

"I found there wasn’t much of a community here any more. I think we had lost a lot of the community aspect of Cave without the pub. It just doesn’t exist without a hub."

New bar manager Hayley Laurie — who had also recently returned to Cave — said it was quite the coincidence that she and Amanda had returned about the same time.

"I had a house out here and Amanda and her family lived just down the road from me and then we both moved away for 20 years and have just come back.

"Before I had heard the Cave pub was opening I had a decision to make whether I stayed in town or came out here, back to Cave. When I made the decision to go home, next minute I heard the Cave pub was opening. It’s funny how life works."

Mrs Grenville-Jones said they opted for a soft opening-style launch.

"We opened the doors on the 7th of February, it was just a soft opening, we didn’t advertise it as we’re not fully done yet. On the first day we were just slammed with people and it just hasn’t stopped really. It’s been good fun."

The Cave Arms Tavern has once again opened its doors after it was closed for two years.
The Cave Arms Tavern has once again opened its doors after it was closed for two years.
She said there was still a good bit of work to finish before officially opening.

"We are still doing building work on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. There are still a few renovations to do before we do a proper opening, probably in the summer.

"We still need to do the exterior and we really want to do an outdoor kitchen so we can really make the most of the pub garden."

At present the pub has nine staff and since soft launching has served about 300 customers on average each week — and that is just counting those ordering food.

Miss Laurie said they had not quite expected the reaction they had received from the community but were not surprised either.

"We think the rumours started happening when the trees started disappearing from outside.

"I think the majority of people in Cave were stoked, I know my dad definitely was.

"I was talking to Dennis Murray the other day and he said ‘Hayley, do you know what the best thing about this is, farmers have got a lot on their shoulders and they don’t have someone to talk to about it. Now that you’re open, they’re all talking again’. I really like that story."

The decision to delve into the pub world had been paying off so far, Mrs Grenville-Jones said.

"There are a lot of really happy people which is great, I think that really makes it worth it.

"The whole team also gets along really well, everyone puts in 110% effort which just makes my life a whole lot easier."

The Cave Arms Tavern opens Thursday to Sunday.