Taking a pub with a rough reputation, long known as a place to avoid, and turning it into a place for the community to embrace is a big challenge, even for the savviest of developers.
When you’re new to hospitality it may qualify for insanity, but such is the vision of Jannick Zester (owner of fashion retail shops Dansk) and his business partner Steve Powell who have taken over the Swan Hotel on Chapel Street in Windsor and turned it into The Wolf & I. Both business partners are new to hospitality, but their intention and vision is clear: this ain’t a rough pub anymore.
The Wolf & I, a name coined by Zester's girlfriend during a brainstorming session, is a clean but textured space.
Designed by Zester, it features plenty of bare bricks, white walls and striking artwork by photo artist Jacki Stockdale. One wall in the front bar is dedicated to vintage Singer sewing machines and two deer mannequins are moved around the room to assume positions at the bar or a table.
Head Chef Daniel Groom has created a menu with Scandinavian influences as well as sturdy traditional pub food, which means you’ll see Frikadeller (Danish meatballs) and Gravad laks (cured salmon) alongside Wolf’s Chicken Parmigiana or a dish of pork and fennel sausages. The aim is to keep a good pub feel (TV screens remain in the front bar for watching sport), while accommodating the local, urban audience with quality food in a sharp, inviting space.
Now that the bar and dining room are open, the next stage of The Wolf & I is an upstairs outdoor area and large function rooms, due to open in about six months time.