John Dixon (left) with Sam Pullan (right) at The Bear at Carriages in Knaresborough.
Jane Imrie

Family venture set to breathe life into historic market town venue

A venue in a historic North Yorkshire market town is set to be transformed thanks to a new collaboration between local entrepreneurs.

Brother-in-law duo Sam Pullan and John Dixon have teamed up to take over Carriages bar and restaurant in Knaresborough.

Sam, founder and head chef of alternative event catering business Bears Pantry, and John, founder and operator of mobile craft bar and cocktails specialist Craft Bar, are set to relaunch the venue as The Bear at Carriages.

The venue, which fell into administration following closure in February, is named for its location in a listed building above a Victorian train tunnel on the Harrogate to York train line.

Sam Pullan commented: “We had been on the hunt for a suitable venue to get up and running for some time but nothing suitable came up. We heard about Carriages closure and decided to investigate, despite the fact that coronavirus had already dealt a devastating blow to the hospitality sector.

“The Grade II listed building in a prime location in Knaresborough presented the perfect opportunity to us and with the backing of private investors, we are renovating and updating while still retaining the charm and character of the building that has appealed to visitors for many years.”

John Dixon added: “As a resident of Knaresborough for over 20 years, I know Carriages reputation and have seen the potential it has, as a destination venue and we are aiming to return it to its former popularity.

“This is the perfect venue for us and knowing the area well we believe our unique offering and approach will not only suit the area but will give it a much-needed boost in the wake of coronavirus.

“I’m delighted we’re also in a position to operate this very much as an independent, family-run business, bringing into play all of our strengths and talents, delivering an experience to rival anything that neighbouring cities and towns can offer.”

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