A Solihull pub in the center of what was claimed to be a poltergeist activity is set to close its doors before a total transformation.
The Red Lion in Shirley was the subject of paranormal drama when creepy images emerged of what staff suspected was a poltergeist doing nonsense in the bar.
Security camera footage captured on Wednesday August 11 showed a vase of flowers mysteriously emerging from a shelf and crashing to the ground.
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Customers and staff at the Stratford Road pub reacted in shock to the video, sparking intense speculation about what could have knocked the glass down.
No one was near the shelf when the vase of lilies fell unexplainedly.
Staff and customers who were there at the time were convinced it was pushed by a poltergeist and said it was not the first time this had happened, claiming that the glasses would “fall” on the shelves were a regular phenomenon.
The incident remains a mystery, but now the 1950s pub has announced that it will be closing for the last time in its current form before undergoing a two-month makeover costing £ 350,000.
The pub will be reborn as The Lion Sport & Eat, a sports bar and a must-see foodie destination for the local community.
The investment is made by the Star Pubs & Bars owned by Heineken and the born and raised residents of Solihull, Nick Johnson and Mark Caldicott.
The duo also ran the award-winning Bulls Head in Barston, and their families were both regulars at the Red Lion in its heyday.
The pub will close from October 4 and is expected to reopen in early December, creating 30 new jobs.
Star Pubs & Bars says the project will completely change the exterior of the pub to “harmonize with neighboring buildings and enhance the center of Shirley”.
The transformation will see the Lion painted in a dark charcoal color with new upholstery, lighting and signage.
Flower baskets, hedges and cafe-style seating on the sidewalk outside will complete the new look.
A little-used concrete courtyard behind the pub will become a 32-seat open-air space with wall art, new furniture, a large screen and all-weather covered space.
Hopefully the dramatic overhaul will make the venue more sleek and contemporary, with plans to install leather-covered booths with their own mini-TVs.
Street food and homemade cakes
A new kitchen will also allow Nick and Mark to introduce more food.
Dishes will focus on street food like burgers, ribs and wings, with a dedicated kids menu featuring traditional fare.
All meals will be prepared with fresh ingredients from nearby farms and suppliers.
Nick and Mark are also setting up a premium barista-quality coffee machine and will be serving hot drinks and homemade cakes.
To complete the menu, Nick and Mark are refitting the cellar with the latest equipment and will apply for Cask Marque accreditation.
They aim to have 11 beers on tap as well as a wide selection of premium spirits, wines and cocktails.
Sports and games room
Sports enthusiasts will also be catered for with a dedicated game room equipped with its own bar, pool table, darts and screens to enjoy the sport live.
The pub wants to create billiards and darts teams and sponsor local football teams.
Nick and Mark want the new Lion facility to benefit the entire community.
To this end, they are committed to opening the game room for meetings of local organizations and charities as well as for private functions such as celebrations with family or friends.
Nick said: “Shirley is a very vibrant city and we feel incredibly lucky to have found a pub here.
“We both have a genuine affection for The Lion, having known him our entire lives. He’s an iconic Shirley institution, and there’s a lot of interest in his future.
“While other downtown buildings have been upgraded, the Lion has been left behind and stands out.
“We want to give him the TLC and the investment he needs to become an asset to Shirley again.
“We aim to offer something for everyone, whether it’s a family lunch, an afternoon coffee or a good night out. “
Jacqueline Frow, Star Pubs & Bars Area Manager, said: “Nick and Mark are fantastic licensees with a great reputation locally.
“They revived The Bulls Head and put it back on the map. I have every confidence that they will work the same magic on Leo.
“Their plans for The Lion are exciting, and exactly what the city needs. The residents of Shirley are in for a treat.
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