Premier Hospitality

The Darran

Written by Roma Publications

The Darran


The oldest pub in Risca, Wales has had a six-figure investment by owners SA Brain and Co. The Darran, which has been standing at the top of Risca since 1800, was closed for two months from September to November last year undergoing its largest renovation since 2003.

The two-storey pub has had a full internal refurbishment with a change to the layout which added space for an extra 50 diners. Dating back to the 19th Century, the pub has a 135m2 ground floor and an 80m2 first floor that can accommodate any party. Working on the refurbishment was Rebecca Groves, Associate Director at Design Management Partnership and Designer and Project Manager of the refurbishment.

“We worked alongside Thomas Parry Associates, and S.A.Brain and Co to develop a template for their ‘Grills and More’ brand,” commented Rebecca. “This site was one of three that were developed at the same time as a trial for the ‘Grills and More’ template. Each site contains a focal piece of digital wallpaper – an old OS map which focuses on the location and surrounding area of the pub. The other elements of the design that are consistent throughout the sites include carpet design, wallpapers, colour scheme, light fittings, fabrics and family booths with the dining area.”

The new interior of the pub uses paints from the Crown Historical range with a colour scheme featuring blues, creams and greys. “The majority of the finishes already existed. The floor finishes implemented included carpet, vinyl and tiled flooring. The wall finishes featured patterned wallpaper and digital wallpaper alongside the pre-existing brick and stone work. There was a pre-existing metal balustrading to the first floor void which was replicated in timber on the new staircase,” added Rebecca.

The new design of the pub takes heavy influence from the local area with the bric-a-brac used featuring a vast range of historical local imagery. “The signage, which was redeveloped, features an oak tree which is then replicated as a focal feature on the back bar servery. The oak tree is significant because ‘Darran’ in welsh means ‘little oak’,” Rebecca added.

Spread across the ground and first floor, the dining area is the perfect place for customers to relax with both floors featuring a stove within a fireplace, giving a sense of warmth to the pub. Family dining booths are used on the ground floor of the dining area to encourage the family pub feel The Darran is known for.

Also on the ground floor is the bar area, which sits within the main thoroughfare of the building. “We used poseur level seating and a greater link with the bar servery has been created, providing a real locals drinking bar area, which the pub previously lacked. The same finishes and palette have been used throughout the dining and bar areas to create a sense of unity,” commented Rebecca.

“There was previously very little visual indication of the dining area on the first floor which meant that it was getting very little use by guests. There was an existing void within the first floor with a feature column running up through both levels, masking the staircase behind. The challenge was to open up the ground and first floor, in order to create more vision through the pub and a unity between both floors. We relocated the staircase  to the centre of the pub in order to give the vision to guests that there is an additional level as soon as they enter the bar area at ground floor.”

New signage and external decorations were included within the revamping of the pub as well as replacing all front elevation windows to allow for more picturesque views of the surrounding hills when dining.

Mace Interiors


Mace Interiors specialise in the supply of contract furniture, fixed bench seating, window dressings, upholstery and furniture refurbishment. The company has been in operation for 15 years and within this time has worked with a range of prestigious clients including Brains Brewery, St Austell Brewery and several independent pub chains and breweries.

Most recently, Mace Interiors has been involved with The Darran. Working on this project, Mace Interiors supplied the site with new fixed seating and furniture and refurbished the existing furnishings.

Mike Rothwell, Mace Interiors, said:

“We have been involved with Brains Brewery projects for several years now and we hope to continue supplying and supporting them in their future refurbishment programmes.”

Mike added:

“At Mace Interiors we pride ourselves in providing a personal, quality service from inception to completion.”


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