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New vision for Royal Hotel

The Spines performing at The Royal Hotel. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

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The well-known, Tora crayfishing Bramley family has bought The Royal Hotel and are planning to have fun with it.

Husband and wife team Neil and Lea Bramley are the brains behind the music festival Tora, Tora, Tora, which they started in 1999.

To celebrate their purchase of the iconic Featherston pub, Lea and the couple’s son Troy, his wife Clare, and their friends held an event there last Saturday night.

It was made known at the end of the night, when the rich and sticky chocolate cake was served, that it was also Neil’s birthday bash.

Martinborough craft beers and a variety of wine choices flowed as Trinity Roots frontman Warren Maxwell performed solo, followed by entertainment by Wellington band The Spines.

Maxwell, a Featherston resident and acclaimed musician, was seated as he performed some of his songs while tapping various pedals to bring in instruments he played but had pre-recorded.

The Spines rocked on with some of their tracks from 40 years of songwriting.

The band has had member changes, but lead singer Jon McLeary remains at the helm.

Former hotel owners Rob Allen and Janelle Harrington bought the 153-year-old building in 2015 and gave it a multi-million-dollar refurbishment treatment.

The 12 bedrooms were decorated lavishly, and the pub was fitted out to a top-notch ‘steampunk’ design.

But the Bramleys are transforming it back to the style of a modern pub.

One of the most notable changes was a large piece of Tora-sourced kelp painted bright crimson which hung on the wall as art.

On Monday, the successful Brac and Bow restaurateurs announced they were moving in.

“We’re feeling quite majestic, rather regal, and one could say we’re almost feeling a bit royal,” their Facebook post said.

The post went on, “Why did Brac and Bow cross the road? To get to the other side!”.

The Brac and Bow team are aiming to be open for business at The Royal Hotel from early 2021.

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