A former Chronicle Country cinema is to reopen as a bar and grill after an extensive refurbishment.
George’s Hall Bar and Grill is due to open in the historic former home of the Empire Cinema in Biggleswade High Street.
Business partners Mark Linka and Neil Brown have worked extensively to give the venue a fresh, modern look whole retaining its historic charm.
The two have also retained the stage where the cinema screen once stood – and will be booking bands and other entertainers to perform while diners eat and drink.
Mark said: “The building dates back to around 1912 and as well as being a cinema it has also been a live entertainment venue before – Harry Houdini once performed on stage here.
“It is a large dining room and is perfect for long tables for people who are having parties, but there will also be smaller tables too.
“We want people to be able to have a meal and a drink but also be able to enjoy some live music or entertainment while they do, and the main room is perfectly set up for that.”
At the side of the stage is a door to the kitchen at the rear and small flight of stairs so waiting staff can serve food without disturbing performers.”
When Mark and Neil first bought the venue in 2009 they wanted to find out what kind of business residents wanted to see in the town. They published an advert in the Chronicle asking for feedback and received a good response.
Mark added: “We had some very encouraging comments and a lot of people said that a grill would be good as there were pubs and restaurants in the town but nothing that fitted that description.
“It was clear that there was a demand for somewhere where you can have a steak and a beer and enjoy some live entertainment at the same time.”
The two have since been working hard to bring the venue – which will have a late licence at weekends – back to its former glory.
The solid wood floor can be used as a dance floor if and when needed, while Mark and Neil have employed tradesmen and materials from the immediate area where possible.
Mark said: “The tables are made of cedar wood which is sourced locally.”
George’s Hall Bar and Grill will open in early November.