It was certainly big pub shoes to fill when iconic Retreat wine bar owner Ian Morrison served his last pint after 34 years.
Popular Ian, 61, called time in December and handed over the bar reins to Jamie and Steph Dey.
And the husband and wife duo are certainly making their mark as they follow in Ian’s pub footsteps: “Ian’s shoes are very large to fill,” revealed Jamie.
“Keeping a hospitality business relevant and healthy for more than 30 years is an amazing achievement, which he should be very proud of. Having now been here for more than three months, we’re starting to see how his ethos about supporting other local businesses and being a welcoming pub has definitely helped shape what plans we want for the Retreat, moving forward.”
Jamie and Steph boast a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry: “Myself and Steph both worked in London for 10 years. I worked in the drinks industry, mainly beer and cider companies and Steph worked on the opening of a large restaurant as an office manager.
“Since leaving London, we worked together at the Retreat in Cheltenham where we initially set up a pop-up food evening during 2020 and then a bakery takeaway in 2021, whilst the bar was shut and then worked in the kitchen and bar – basically a whole round up of the business.”
Jamie and Steph are already making subtle changes to the Retreat, introducing monthly Sunday roasts, Friday and Saturday morning coffee and breakfast: “We want to make it more accessible for a wider range of customers – we’ve seen over the past 10 years that pubs have changed and shouldn’t rely completely on night time trade. We now open on Friday and Saturday mornings for the market, offering coffee, breakfast sandwiches and pastries and Sunday roasts.”
Jamie and Steph are also in the process of clearing out a stock room in the pub which will be available as a free community event space.
On a sporting front, the annual Stroud Retreat versus Cheltenham Retreat cricket match and Cheltenham to Stroud Retreat cycle ride will return.