Design Focus: The Swan Inn

April 10th, 2017 | Posted in: Editors' Picks,Features

The Swan Inn in Eaglesham is under new management and it has been given a revamp since being taken over by Gary Smith in February. The traditional, Polnoon Street pub, which has graced the village since 1832, is now being run by Lauren Mooney and helping her on a consultancy basis is Marco Sarao, who has a long pedigree in the trade and has responsible resurrecting a few failing restaurants in his time.

The pub is now much fresher looking and the restaurant has been transformed into a contemporary dining room. The changes have gone down well with the locals. Marco told DRAM, “The pub hadn’t really changed in 30 years, but we haven’t just revamped the pub we have changed the menu too. Now we are offering, not just bar food, but quality meals. Whether you are look for sandwich and soup or scallops and halibut, you will find it on our menu. We have a daily specials menu and a Market menu, which changes every two weeks, and comes with a complimentary bottle of wine, as well as a Gourmet Menu which on the last Thursday and every month and sees four dishes, paired with four different wines.”

However it is not just the menu that has been changed. The pub too is looking the part. It has been totally re-carpeted with a tartan beige, brown and cream check, all the seating has been re-upholstered, new chairs and bar stools have been added, the old partitions have been taken down, and the fire area has been improved. The stained glass remains, and shortly it will be back-lit. New lighting has been added throughout and the floor has been cleaned to within an inch of its life.

Says Marco, “Gary didn’t want to change the feel of the pub, but it really needed updating and refreshing. We cleaned the floor and then had to oxidise it.”

The back bar too has been reformatted – whereas previously it only have five spirits on optic there is now a wide range of whiskies, gins and other spirits on offer, not to mention craft beers. Locals have also noticed that the quality of the draught beer has improved immeasurably. Marco comments, “Locals had been complaining about the quality of the beer, so one of the first things we did was re-do the cellar. We put in a heat dump and thermal lines. We also restructured the bar. There had been no refrigeration behind the bar and no glass washers either. It really was delapitated. We’ve also now got a vast array of spirits including Brockman’s which is very popular here. ”

Once the cellar had been sorted the pair then tackled the kitchen and the restaurant. The kitchen has a complete make-over and now it has all the mod-cons for its three chefs while the restaurant is much more inviting. Before there had been bench seating and very little space for diners. Says Marco, “It was like someone’s back living room, complete with net curtains.”

Now the restaurant appears much more spacious with bigger tables, new chairs and the same carpet that graces the pub has been carried through. The walls are now a light cream, while a wine display takes pride of place. There are still patio doors leading out to the garden, and in time they are considering extending out to a conservatory. Next on the agenda thou’ are the toilets. Says Marco, “It is a work in progress.”

As to the future, if the number of times the phone rang when we were talking is any indication, it is looking very positive. Says Gary, “I was familiar with the pub, and it was a busy pub in the past and already it appears to have got it’s mojo back. Now we are concentrating on the quality of the food, and offering good, friendly service, and already we have seen our food sales almost double. It’s certainly encouraging.”

While Marco adds, “I have worked in various venues from Da Luciano’s and The Grapevine in Bothwell and even opened Bar Milano in Newton Mearns, so I know how this area works, and already some of my past customers are coming and they good news is they are already coming back.”

The new look Swan has also been well received by the community. Says Lauren, “The support we have had has been great. People have been supplying us with fresh eggs, fish and such like. They know it The Swan hasn’t worked in the past, and the last thing they want is The Swan to close.”

He concludes, “I know what people like and if you can crack the Mearns you can crack anywhere.”

The Swan Inn is now no ugly duckling, and with cocktails on the menu, maybe it won’t be too long before it has a brother or sister?

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Susan Young
Susan Young is a journalist who has spent the last 20 years editing the DRAM. Prior to that, she spent a decade working in Public Relations and Events dealing with clients as diverse as Cumbernauld Development Agency and James Burrough Distillers. Her knowledge of the Scottish licensed trade is extensive and she also instigated the first ever Scottish licensed trade awards which have evolved into the Scottish Bar and Pub Awards.

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