A pint at the Bucket of Blood

T his month, we're catching up with Peter and Nicola, tenants at the Bucket of Blood. Having taken over the tenancy just months before, learn more about their experience running a pub in Cornwall.

Based in Phillack, near Hayle, the Bucket of Blood is a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike. A Grade II listed property, the pub is seeping with history – local legend responsible for its unique namesake! In recent years, the pub had lost a little of its charm, but Peter and Nicola, having taken over the tenancy earlier this year, have restored the Bucket to its former glory.

With a background in hospitality, the couple understood the hard work needed to undertake such a business venture and they hope to continue to grow the pub’s popularity over the next few years. Focusing on great ale, food, and events, the Bucket of Blood offers the full package.

We stopped by for a pint at the Bucket of Blood with Nicola and Peter to find out more about their experience as tenants running a pub in Cornwall.


How long have you been a St Austell Brewery tenant? 

We took over the tenancy in March, just in time for a busy Summer.


How has the Bucket of Blood transformed since you've taken over the tenancy? 

We’d come in to visit the Bucket of Blood before we took over the tenancy and it was pretty dead – even on a Friday night! Since taking on the tenancy, we’ve introduced live music once a month, and a newsletter to keep our customers in the loop with what’s on and any new staff members.

The interior was previously quite dark and gloomy, so we’ve also brightened everything up with new décor – rejuvenating the look.

We’re also very proud that our ratings have jumped from two-star to five-star with our food serving, completely transforming the reputation of the pub.


What has the response from your customers been like?

The response has been fantastic, 100% positive. We’ve had a lot of support from the local community which of course, is highly important when running a pub in Cornwall, with many returning having not visited the pub for over 10 years. Summer was particularly busy with us offering two evening sittings as we were so packed! Bucket of Blood has become the go-to place to visit in Hayle and the surrounding area.


What kind of support have you had from the brewery?

John, our Area Manager, has supported us throughout – and is always just a phone call away if ever we need anything. We’ve had a slight issue with electric tripping out, but he’s been fantastic in helping us overcome the problem.

It’s hard work running a pub in Cornwall - having worked at The Fountain Inn in Mevagissey previously we knew what we’d be getting into but having the support there is a great aid.


What are your plans for the future?

We’re signed on to at least three years here and hope to continue growing the pub’s reputation. Next year we’re looking to organise a mini beer festival for the May bank holiday, and potentially even look to add another pub to our portfolio.


What makes the Bucket of Blood stand out?

Just the name grabs your attention! According to local legend, centuries ago the landlord pulled up a bucket, but it didn’t contain water – the body of a murdered smuggler had been dumped into the well, giving the pub its name. The pub today is far less gruesome! Our live music and open mic nights are hugely popular and really create a great community-led atmosphere.


Why do you enjoy what you do?

It’s hard work but it’s worth it – we particularly love meeting new people and the social side of it all.


How would you describe running a pub in Cornwall?

It hugely relies on tourism, and you definitely see an uptake during the summer months. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect the locals; you need their support to thrive.


What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to take on the challenge of running their own pub?

Be prepared for hard work and early starts! But it’s very rewarding in the long term – seeing new reviews roll in and getting great feedback keeps you motivated. The Bucket’s reputation has completely changed, and it’s become a five-star spot.


Why not pay a visit to the Bucket of Blood and discover if running a pub in Cornwall could be your next business venture too?