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de Argenteins at Ancient House

Ancient House reopens as a new restaurant after four years.

Ancient House in Halesworth’s Thoroughfare finally reopens its doors to guests on 19th December, after a four-year closure. Becky and Steve Jones, who are familiar faces in the town, have brought the listed building back to life with a cosy and welcoming restaurant and bar.

de Argenteins at Ancient House, formerly the Bay Tree Bistro, has been sympathetically restored over the last few months, to reflect the history of the building and offer three distinctly different areas to enjoy a drink or a meal. The building has accommodated many different businesses in it’s history, more recently as various restaurant bars, being a unique and quaint venue for food and drink lovers.

When Steve heard the building was available to lease, he leapt in and signed up, sure that if they didn’t take the plunge there and then, the chance to realise their dream of a restaurant bar in Halesworth would never come up again. The timing was not ideal, with their new baby daughter making an early appearance within a week of taking on the building.

Juggling the demands of a new baby and running a project like this has been challenging to say the least. It’s been all hands-on deck, with family and friends working hard, for the last few months, to keep it all on track. We’ve also brought in several tradesmen from the local area, who have been great and really got to grips with the challenges of a listed building like Ancient House” Steve explained.

Guests are met with a sense of times gone by when entering the main restaurant, the new decor reflecting the colours in one of the buildings Victorian fireplaces. With a roaring fire in the grate, guests can sit in a cosy fireside chair whilst waiting to be shown to their table, or simply relax with a drink. The extensive array of original features, coupled with the new bar and dark furniture, creates a wonderfully atmospheric place to meet friends and enjoy a coffee or a drink from the bar.

If you’re looking for a lighter and more modern atmosphere, then the conservatory is the place to be. Taking on a botanical theme, the conservatory is designed to flow into the garden, when the bi-fold doors are thrown open for the summer months. With specially designed, copper lined, lampshades hanging above each table, the bright and airy conservatory takes on an alter ego as evening draws in and the lights are turned on, casting deep orange shadows around the room.

Out in the garden, the project is still taking shape. However, the quiet enclosed courtyard still offers wrought iron tables and chairs nestled around a sleek stainless steel, living flame patio heater. This is a great little spot to take in the fresh evening air and look up at the stars.

For the first time an upstairs lounge has been opened. ‘Margey’s Lounge’, named after the ghost of Margeret de Argentein, who is reported to haunting the building (not that Steve, Becky or any of the workers have seen her yet)! Decorated in rich, warm colours and furnished with an eclectic mix of chairs and tables, the snug is completed with another gorgeous (and enormous) custom made lampshade. The warm and homely atmosphere has been further enhanced by the addition of a retro style record player and selection of original vinyl LP’s from past era’s. Guests can settle into a cosy armchair with their favourite tipple, choose their own music and then sit back and reminisce about the old days, or browse the old images of the building and the town that reside on the walls.

To complete the look of de Argenteins at Ancient House Steve and Becky are proud to be displaying a collection of images created by local photographer Jason Avery.

Becky, who has been project managing the renovation commented. “We’re really happy to be able to offer something a bit different to residents and visitors to the town. We had hoped to have a fully functioning kitchen in December, but due to a setback with the renovations that hasn’t been possible. We aim to open a full restaurant service early next year, which will offer something a bit different for the town. Until then we will be open as a bar in the evenings from 19th adding daytime opening hours from the New Year”.

If you’re looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy a drink or coffee with friends, this is the place to go. Becky and the team would love you to drop by and see them.

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