A much-loved Wakefield brewpub is taking on a new lease of life following major investment from Ossett Brewing Company.
Handpumps at the ready in Luis Bar. Photographs: Ossett Brewery
Since closure in July, Ossett has invested a significant amount to refurbish the Fernandes Brewery Tap and Bierkeller, in the Old Maltings, Avison Yard, Kirkgate.
A former Yorkshire CAMRA pub of the year, Fernandes is steeped in brewing history and will be relaunched on Friday (24th September) from 4pm as Luis Bar. The name pays tribute to Portuguese immigrant Luis Fernandes, who constructed the three-storey maltings building in the 1800s.
Having several uses during the 20th century, the building became a brewery and off-licence when local couple Maureen and Dave James acquired the property in 1994 and installed a two-and-a-half-barrel plant. Ossett Brewing Co purchased the building in 2007 and made it a popular cask ale venue, with 10 handpumps, plus the Bierkeller serving a wide range of authentic continental lagers.
Under a new management team, Luis Bar will remain a cask lover’s paradise, with Fernandes and Ossett ales to the fore, while also offering selected craft beers and cocktails.
Former Ossett telesales manager, Liz Hughes, will run the venue, alongside Howard Hughes and Gerald Wood, local businessmen who have supplied the brewery with artwork and signage for years. They are the first licensees to enter into tenancy with Ossett Brewing Co. Howard and Gerald will also take over the brewing of the highly regarded Fernandes ales.
Licensees Liz and Howard Hughes
Jamie Lawson, co-owner of Ossett Brewing Company, said: “Fernandes is a much acclaimed brewpub in the heart of Wakefield. However, a substantial refurbishment was needed to ensure it could continue to welcome its very loyal customers while also attracting new supporters in today’s very vibrant and challenging pub scene.
“Consequently, we decided to make this key investment in a major uplift and makeover for the venue, while maintaining its highly valued ambience and character.
“It is a ground-breaking step for our pub estate. We are very pleased to welcome aboard the new management team under our first ever tenancy agreement. All three have a long association with us and will play an important role in an exciting future for this much-loved venue under its new identity as Luis Bar.”
Liz said: “After working with Ossett Brewing Co for nearly 20 years in various roles, I am delighted to be carrying on a relationship in this exciting new role alongside Howard and Gerald, who also both know the company very well.
“We are very much looking forward to working with Ossett and tackling the challenges ahead to take the new Luis Bar
forward as a top-class pub venue for the town.”