It’s fair to say that The Hobgoblin in Bath had mixed reviews. It’s regulars, those who had a penchant for all things heavy, including Metallica, Pantera and Sepultura (metal bands from Los Angeles, Texas and Brazil), loved the place. The landlords were hailed for supporting local live music and providing a venue that was conducive to the scene they buoyed.

But it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The Hobgoblin closed its doors in 2017; some mourned its passing; others didn’t. So what next for this venue in the heart of the most popular UK tourist destination outside London? Step forward Ben Nathan, an experienced publican with an in-depth knowledge of Bath’s tourism scene… and a well-defined plan. Having made a success out of his other Bath based pub, The Thief, Ben knew exactly what to do with The Hobgoblin. Sourcing beer and food from local microbreweries and producers was a must; so Wellington’s famous ‘free of tie’ formula was a winner. Investment in refurbishing the whole building was next on the agenda. This part of the project was going to be costly, but Wellington stepped forward with rent concessions to lighten the burden. But the real clincher was the accommodation. Ben’s business plan was based on solid evidence from The Thief. Accommodation was key to the success of running a pub in a sought after tourist hot spot; and The Hobgoblin, now renamed The Black Fox, allowed for nine rooms over three floors. “The Hobgoblin was really in quite a bad state of repair when we first saw it,” said Ben “It took us five months to bring it up to scratch. “We opened the bar at The Black Fox just before Christmas and started serving food two months later. The rooms were ready in July in time for the height of the tourist season. “We originally found the pub through Wellington’s own website and made a booking to view it. I have to say the whole process has been pretty straightforward. We supplied a business plan, which was tweaked here and there, then negotiated rent concessions and ongoing rent. Everything was very clear and the team was flexible and supportive. “We have ambitious expansion plans and would definitely work with Wellington again. I think they understand our model and are keen to make it work together.”