New lease of life for Harrogate's 17th century pub

The Black Swan in Burn Bridge near Harrogate.
The Black Swan in Burn Bridge near Harrogate.

A popular village pub near Harrogate is aiming to return to its place at heart of the community, albeit with a high quality American influence.

Famed for its mock-Tudor gable-frontage, The Black Swan near Pannal is to be relaunched in Burn Bridge next Tuesday, September 18.

New landlord Piers Stringer arrives fresh from Long Island in the United States with a huge breadth of experience across the board in catering.

Currently closed while refurbishment is completed, Piers is keen to make the reopened Black Swan a place of flexibility and variety, somewhere the whole community can enjoy coming to.

Piers said: “It isn’t going to be the sort of place where you have to eat a meal or can only have a drink.

“If you just want to have a coffee in our beer garden and chat, that is fine.

“I want to build a good, family-orientated community pub where people can feel relaxed, one the villages round the pub will enjoy, too.”

Originally from Pontefract, Piers, his wife Bonnie and young child moved back to the UK last year after a lengthy and successful spell in the United States.

From the ‘New World’ to the old but how old the Black Swan is, is a moot point.

The pub formerly displayed plans datig back to the 1900’s although historians say there has been a ‘hostelry on the site’ since 1650 when hard-working charcoal burners would drink there.

But, although the origins of the Black Swan date back to the 17the century, it’s unlikely anyone has run it before with Piers’ range of experience in the industry.

Recent times have seen it go from resolutely fine dining to traditional English pub fayre.

Piers intends to make this venerable institution chime more with current times.

His desire to create a high quality middle market menu reflects his wide range of American experiences.

At one point during his lengthy stay in Long Island, he was in charge of a 100-seater restaurant and two catering halls seating 150 and 300.

He said: “The high end market in the US is delicate and showy like here but the middle market is broader and more robust with high standards and flavours influenced by barbecue and smoked foods from South America.

“I know how to make mozarella and I will be making my own bread and smoking my own meat anc cheese. The emphasise will be on homemade and on quality, whether that’s pizzas or steaks.”

The Black Swan has always boasted an impressively large beer garden and Piers is introducing a wide range of drinks to suit anyone’s taste.

Joining a trend in the district, there will be a strong presence for real ale, craft beers, local gins and cocktails.