£400,000 investment to transform The Big Jug on Claypath, Durham

North East operators, Craig and Stacey Wright, have added a third pub to their portfolio, The Big Jug on Claypath in Durham. They are undertaking a major £400,000 upgrade of the pub with Star Pubs & Bars. The pub will reopen mid-March in time for Easter with 10 jobs being created on the back of the investment.

Craig and Stacey already run the well regarded and popular City in Durham city centre, another Star Pubs & Bars leased pub, and The Green in Billy Row Crook, a freehold site 20 minutes west of Durham city.

Their plans for The Big Jug are to create a top quality local with a relaxed sociable atmosphere ensuring it appeals to locals, students and visitors. Live music will be a major feature with different acts, such as bands and an open mic night, on two to four times a week. The pub will also show live sports daily and offer grab-and-go style food such as pizzas, paninis and sharing boards.

The sympathetic revamp of the Grade 2 pub will see covers increase from 37 to 69. In addition to a new décor and fixtures and fittings, a new live performance area will be created, loos upgraded, and the upstairs function room and bar redecorated. Four new TVs will enable sport to be viewed throughout the pub including in the function room.
Energy efficiency works will range from adding insulation and motion-sensor lighting to installing technology that will turn off drinks fridges when no movement is detected behind the bar and switch off cellar cooling equipment when the surrounding temperature is low enough. In addition a Smart Dispense system, will be 20% more energy efficient than standard dispense systems.

The pub’s exterior will be benefit from redecoration, new signage and lighting. To the rear there will be a new seating area for 16 with festoon lighting, and artificial planting.
Craig says: “There aren’t many places in Durham that host regular live music. Our other pub, The City, is one of the few other places. The upstairs function room with its own private bar is also a rarity in Durham. As well as giving customers a reason to come out, it’s important that pubs continue to nurture grass roots music.

“We are fortunate that Durham attracts people from all over the world – students and tourists. The pubs we run have broad appeal, with something for everyone. They have loyalty schemes for regulars and discounts for students. Our existing pubs are performing really well - the village pub sells around 600 covers a week and The City sold 77,000 pints in 2023. Both pubs are decorated to a high standard, offering customers great surroundings and top-quality food and drink. When I first started out working in pubs 18 years ago people wanted regular drinks; now it is premium products that are selling.”

Star Pubs & Bars Business Development Manager, Lance Green says: “Craig and Stacey are experienced and successful pub operators with a detailed knowledge of the Durham market. They have has turned around their other two pubs and will do the same with The Big Jug. We’re delighted to be investing with Craig and Stacey. The Big Jug needed the right people to take it on, which it now has. I wish Craig and Stacey success with their latest venture.”