The Night Jar Inn – Aylesbeare, Devon
Located at the heart of the East Devon village of Aylesbeare, The Night Jar Inn is a homely gastro pub that opened in October 2017. Occupying a prominent corner location, it blends modern British cooking with a contemporary design, utilising seasonal and local produce
The former village pub, ‘The Aylesbeare Arms’ which closed in 2009, stood on the same site but had fallen into such a state of disrepair that the best course of action was to demolish the original building and rebuild. This unenviable task was undertaken by local developer Paul Brinton, who partnered with Simon White and Julie Hall from well-known local catering company Posh Nosh to bring this exciting venture to life.
A place for locals and visitors alike to meet, drink, eat and relax, the Night Jar Inn has the villagers of Aylesbeare at its core. It was named by the community through a competition and has already proved to be a popular addition to the area. Premier Hospitality recently sat down with Simon White to find out more about the Night Jar Inn:
“The food is modern British so we have old pub favourites with a bit of a twist. All our produce is bought within a 10 – 20-mile radius. We focus on high-quality, high-end fresh produce, whilst maintaining value for money. Our Head Chef Neil Gibbs is a former Royal Marine who trained under Gary Rhodes, and before coming to us he owned and ran his own restaurant in Bordeaux for five years. Chef creates high-end British contemporary gastro-style pub food with fine-dining finesse. We have a good stock of wines from local wine merchant Christopher Piper and always carry three real ales alongside premium lagers.” He adds: “In the evening we open the delightful upstairs dining room which is modern with a country-style charm. There is a central glass opening at floor level, looking down into the bar below. This means that diners experience cosy and relaxed dining, whilst enjoying the hustle and bustle of the pub atmosphere from downstairs.”
The style and design of the building complements the adjacent properties which are white rendered, contemporary village-style cottages. The pub exterior reflects this design using materials like oak, dark metal and a slate roof. The interior is relaxing with intimate lighting and eclectic furniture with original chairs sourced from a Chapple in Wales. Many of the interior furnishings were sourced locally from Yarrow Design in Honiton and various antique shops in popular Topsham, a unique town on the Exe estuary, known for its quirky independent shops and galleries. A mix of beautiful Burlesque-style glasses of varying jewel hues and fresh pots of herbs take centre stage on the tables.
Simon comments: “A lot of people think it’s the old pub renovated, so we’ve done a good job of blending it in with the village.” He added: “I’ve been involved with restaurants and catering for the last fifteen years and this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s been fantastic, however, to see locals loving having their pub back, an integral meeting place for the community.” In fact, the villagers feel so involved in the new pub that they came up with the name The Night Jar, a local bird. Simon adds: “We had about 150 people in the pub on New Year’s Eve and it was fantastic to see the smile on people’s faces. It’s very heartening to have brought back the heart of the village.”
The opening of The Night Jar Inn marks a milestone in the village’s history. A great deal of time and effort has gone into making sure the venue stands the test of time and it’s set to be a staple of the community for years to come. The pub is always moving forward and, in the summer, we will have an alfresco seating area in the courtyard adjacent to the wine cellar, which we know will prove very popular with locals and visitors alike.
To find out more information, please visit night-jar.co.uk