I too popped in for a quick drink last night.
While it is a vast improvement on what it was before I do have my reservations. I would preface this by saying that it seems aimed at a younger crowd so it may not really be for the likes of moderately grumpy middle aged fellas like myself.
So good things. It does feel welcoming and the new decor is all right (not really my bag). There is a decent selection of beer, mostly Laines but others are on tap - didn't investigate bottles or wine as there were free cocktails at the bar which OH said were pretty good (they didn't seem to last long!). There is a decent amount of tables and seats and we did get to sit down which was welcome after cycling around in the storm yesterday. The green wall is attractive but I wonder how well it will fare - the pub is very dark and that wall doesn't get much light. I fear it will be a pain in the arse for them. The menu looked OK - proper nice pub food and a few people were eating what looked to be nice plates of nosh. Service was attentive and there were plenty of staff who seemed to know what they were doing.
Not so good things. It's dark and noisy! The modern allergy to lighting in pubs annoys me. It's fine to try to create a cozy atmosphere it was too dark for me so much so that I had to get my phone out to read the menu. The HO has always had an issue with acoustics - it is still basically a huge box and sound seems to reverb in there making everyday conversation seem loud. There was music playing, it wasn't that loud but still I found it difficult to carry on a conversation in normal volume. Also not so cheap - £5.40 a pint
There was a little booklet outlining the entertainment for the week - this includes. Jazz Sunday lunches, Live music on a Thursday, DJs on Friday and Saturday, Bingo on Saturday afternoons and Tuesday night hots a Restart Party.. This is great for those of you who like that sort of thing and good luck to all of you but it's not for me. I really just want a local pub where you can drink and chat and possibly have a decent meal.
I'll give it another go but the Chandos or All inn One are better options for me and OH.