Pub Landlord Uses Lockdown To Transform Beer Garden Into ‘Spanish Resort’
While the world struggled to adjust to life amid the coronavirus pandemic, a pub landlord and his partner used lockdown to their advantage by turning their dreary beer garden into a Spanish resort.
In a bid to please the punters who were missing out on their summer holidays, Xhemal Zeqiri completely transformed The Jolly Anglers in Reading with the help of his girlfriend Valentina Filip.
It's believed to be the only boozer in the whole of the UK with a swimming pool and hot tub, which customers can enjoy under the sun terrace alongside a new outdoor TV screen and pizza oven.
The do-over took three months to complete and cost under £4,000 in total - the swimming pool was just £100 from Gumtree, while the rest was either free or second-hand.
Despite having one-year-old son Amir to look after, the hard-working pair also found time to revamp the upstairs of the pub into a bed and breakfast with four rooms, serving all kinds of pub, Greek and Romanian food.
Xhemal, 44, who fled the Kosovo war 22 years ago for his 'dream move' to England, said: "I got the pub back last year, it was all funny colours, purple and black, it was an old man's pub, people were scared to go in.
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"There was just barren land here, not even a beer garden, just two benches; now everything you see, I've built. I thought this was something that no one had seen before, a bit special. I'm a qualified mechanic and engineer by trade, but I like making things. I could see the potential."
Xhemal added: "I got everything for free, like the sofas and furniture. The pool I got for a hundred quid from a guy in Bournemouth.
"The decking I got for seven to eight hundred quid second-hand. The bar was almost all free. The TV and hot tub are new and the most expensive."
She added: "But now we're very busy. We are a big family and have a lot of customers."
Happy customer Andrew Knox said: "I have been drinking here for 15 years. There were a few picnic tables, it was a bit basic. Now it's a bit brighter inside. This is like a little club up here... It's definitely different."
Featured Image Credit: Chris White