The Smoker, an iconic Grade II-listed thatched coaching inn situated in the picturesque village of Plumley, has reopened following a major £750,000, six-month refurbishment. Purchased by Robinsons in 1948, The Smoker is one of Cheshire’s most famous inns and has been stylishly and extensively restored to its former glory. Located on the ancient Roman Watling Street, this 400-year old Elizabethan inn has a distinct sense of history and bags of character. Not only is it rumoured that Queen Elizabeth once stayed at the pub, but there is also a tale behind the name. It is the only pub in Britain called The Smoker and like many pubs, The Smoker was named after a horse… but not just any horse, a smoky-coloured charger owned by the first Lord de Tabley, who raised the Cheshire Yeomanry against the threat from Napoleon.
While it’s sense of history has not been forgotten, The Smoker’s reputation has, over the years, shifted from racing to exceptional English and Continental cuisine. Championing fresh, seasonal produce, one of the most exciting aspects of the new transformation is the food. The cherished countryside pub has reopened with an elevated menu designed to take customers back to the 1980s, when The Smoker was the ‘go to’ pub for mouth-watering meals. Delicious new dishes such as the Aromatic Pork Belly Hotpot, Roast Duck Breast with Red Berries and Game Stew with Dumplings sit side-by-side with pub classics such as Beer Battered Fish and Chips and the Beef and Ale Pie.
The vision was to retain the charm and character of the premises whilst increasing the number of covers, extending the bar area and kitchen facilities and create spaces that were appealing, cosy and which reflected the true heritage of the pub. The gardens have also been redesigned, with an enhanced outdoor drinking area for those warm summer evenings, whilst historical features have been retained, including the pub’s beautiful thatched roof. Internally, floral wallpaper and fabrics have been used to fashion a timeless Arts and Crafts design. The pub now offers a brand new snug room on the front elevation, with a relaxing dual aspect fireplace. The old restaurant room has its own roaring open log fire and is great for casual drinking and dining.