the gears are starting to turn - I finally had contact with the seller's solicitor today. Apparently a contract of sale is being drawn up as we speak. I feel excited and nervous. I've done a lot of the spadework - formed a company, secured chefs, alerted suppiers, opened bank accounts, organised a cash machine. The devil will be in the details of this contract. In the course of a couple of minutes conversation today it became fairly obvious they hadn't given their solicitor an accurate picture of how messy things with their lease. This is going to mean negotiations are going to be between three parties, not the normal two.
The other challenge will be less tangible, and harder to plan for. The extent to which I modify the existing culture of the pub and the willingness of the locals to embrace change is going to be tricky. Obviously the existing clientele aren't numerous or lucrative but ideally you want at least some of them to stay with you on the journey. The concept of the local is a fluid one, and it's easy enough to throw the baby out with the bathwater.