It all started when Rob walked into the office and suggested to James and Pat that ‘it was time to buy a pub’. A week later Draco Pub Co. was born, and the three friends became landlords after buying The Swan from Punch.

The villagers of Wedmore in Somerset then saw the semi-derelict coaching inn go from an ugly duckling into the kind of establishment that wouldn’t be out of place in Notting Hill.

Proof that renovation plus inspiration [and a massive budget] equals transformation.

But the Swan wasn’t just a busy village pub again. We added an award-winning restaurant and beautifully designed bedrooms, ensuring tourists, weekenders, the business community and locals were drawn to its unique character.

One of Rob’s other business interests is River Cottage, well known for its TV series on Channel 4, cookery school, restaurants and campaigning. This where he found Tom Blake, a former head chef who joined to oversee the menu at Draco Pub and has been instrumental in winning awards from the likes of the Good Food Guide and The Morning Advertiser.

Walk into to any of our Inns and you will see we champion local produce, recipes, ales and ciders.

The success of The Swan spurred us on in the direction of The White Hart in Somerton, a neglected little jewel in need of a serious facelift [and an equally serious budget]. It opened with new bedrooms and a kitchen turning out our take on great Somerset food. Not surprisingly the bar was as packed as the Pyramid Stage during a headline act and more awards followed.

As important as our pubs are, it’s the people we put in them that really make the difference. At the heart of Draco Pub is a young, energetic team who know that there’s more to keeping the customers happy than just pulling pints and waiting tables. An informal, engaging professionalism pervades under the watch of Natalie Patrick whose mantra is “atmosphere is everything and it starts with happy staff.”

We are now on our third and biggest project to date, Timbrell’s Yard in Bradford on Avon. This former riverside club and pub will soon provide 14 rooms, a sumptuous bar, plus a 100-cover restaurant and a function room seating 120. Opening early 2015, this is another important stepping stone in the ambitions of our business.

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