Doggie Dinners – not a dog’s dinner!


A gorgeous country pub from the outside, set in the beautiful west pennine moors once inside, the Chetham Arms left much to be desired…IMG_3105

… with dated dark wood beams, lots of oppressive reds and dank brown floral wallpapers left from a design that just didn’t cater to the local market. The large room at the back, set out like a cavernous canteen, was avoided by the pub’s customers even though the pub was gaining popularity with locals and dog walkers since the new owners had taken over the previous year.

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When ROO ST were asked to come up with some design ideas we knew the budget was limited as the pub was brewery owned and it was at the Landlord’s expense, but after bouncing ideas around over a coffee we started to pull a brief together, creating areas that customers would want to book, with a dog-friendly theme and a ‘tea-room feel’ the aim was to create a warm, relaxed atmosphere, and one which we would upcycle and repurpose whenever we could.

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Once the design and colour scheme had been agreed, we divided the project into four parts to enable the pub to stay open throughout the implementation with least disruption to customers. We prepared everything behind the scenes for a quick 4 day implementation for each room, choosing week days to avoid the peak trade at the weekend. For the bar area we simply worked overnight.

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We chose Farrow & Ball’s French Gray and Lime White to soften all the dated wood work and wanted to create ‘enclosed spaces’ making a ‘den’ and party tables to divide up the rooms and create spaces that people would want to book.

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Original 18th century doors from the attic were used as table tops and the square hand made nails on which these doors had hung were picked up off the floor and mounted in frames.

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Scaffolding planks were fitted together and painted to make tables using the old bases in the attic, old pub chairs were painted to give them a new lease of life and tables sanded back to natural wood or painted to update.


Lots of soft floral linens, cotton ginghams and stripy tickings were used throughout the soft furnishing and even used to half wrap wine bottles and used as vases.

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Blackboards were used to emphasise the dog friendly pub and advertise Doggie Dinners (the pub’s speciality!) and even a doggie gallery where customers can display pictures of their beloved pooches.

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Local band Ook and the Elephant opened the new refurbishment with an incredible buzz, and it was 3 deep at the bar!


The impact on sales could be seen immediately and the ‘back room’ became a destination of choice, even on a wet Wednesday in winter you’ll often find friends and family sitting in the den and the ‘tent’ is a popular spot for selfies too!

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So popular was the doggie gallery that it had to be expanded six months later to allow more pooches to fit in.



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Birthday parties, Christenings, Funeral wakes and a variety of events, workshops and festivals are frequently held and as the pub goes from strength to strength, you can hardly find a seat most Sundays and booking is becoming a necessity.

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This year, the Chetham Arms will even host its very first wedding. When the bride-to-be walked into the pub for the first time she was overcome, booking her reception through tears of joy after finding her perfect roost. Not bad for somewhere that once resembled the dogs dinner!

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