The Plough, a popular pub in East Sheen, will reopen on Monday for the first time since last November.
The pub was forced to close last year following a legal dispute between the previous landlord and Fuller’s brewery, the freehold owners.
Fuller’s claimed that after the former publican Tony O’Neill was refused a new lease and told to leave, he removed the fixtures and fittings, requiring the pub to undergo a significant renovation.
New general manager Sonia Labatut, who opened her doors to the public on Saturday afternoon to show off The Plough’s charming facelift, was thrilled to start its new chapter.
Having previously managed The Dove in Hammersmith, she felt it was the perfect opportunity to move to the attractive neighbourhood and take up a fresh challenge in East Sheen.
She said: “The team and I are very excited. I can’t wait to become a part of this community and East Sheen is such a beautiful area.
“The refurbishments are beautiful too – really fresh and nice but still quite traditional.
“Thanks to the way Fuller’s have dealt with it, I’ve been quite shielded from the legal side of things.
“It’s been great just to focus on what I’m good at – putting the team together, organising the permit and getting systems in place.”
Chris and Wendy Welsh, who live just 150 yards away from the pub, have been regulars at The Plough since moving to the area 43 years ago.
The couple, along with several other locals, paid the pub a visit on Saturday to view the makeover, meet the new team and enjoy a drink on the house.
Chris said: “We were very disappointed when it shut and we thought we weren’t going to get our pub back.
“But now, we’re really looking forward to enjoying it again – there’s a Whatsapp group of 40 of us who should be popping down a little later on.
“And looking inside, they’ve done a super job. It looks comfortable, warm and friendly – and the beers look good too!”
Wendy added: “We followed the progress closely and we were praying it would kick off again in time for the summer, because that’s when it’s at its prime.
“Also, the roses have come back – we were worried about them but they seem to have survived!”
Although most of the former staff members left alongside O’Neill, a handful decided to stay and be a part of the pub’s new journey.
Felix Dumphie, 19, was employed at The Plough before its closure last November and was keen to continue working, having experienced the wonderful atmosphere at the pub.
He said: “It’s such an attractive place to work. Everyone who comes in is so friendly and polite.
“They’ve done such an amazing job with the decor too – the outside feels much more spacious and they’ve lightened up the inside by painting the walls white.
“It definitely suits the friendly, welcoming atmosphere here.
“The Plough is such a massive part of this community – everyone knows and loves the place.”
Featured image credit: Annabel Staff