MALTON’S former town hall is to reopen as a bar and restaurant early next month.

Stew & Oyster Ltd has signed a lease for the Grade II-listed building with owners, the Fitzwilliam (Malton) Estate.

The company, which operates bars in the Leeds area, applied for a licence for the building in the centre of Market Place in February 2017 and has since been in negotiations with the estate.

Previously occupied by Malton Museum, the building underwent a £380,000 restoration by the estate, but has remained empty since.

Malton is the sixth and latest site for the Stew & Oyster team, who plan to open in May. The bar and restaurant will serve regional craft beers and ales, alongside a casual dining-menu.

Gemma Welsh, from Stew & Oyster, said: “We are hoping to open the first week of May and we will employ 10 to 15 people - the team are super excited.

“We will have a bustling opening week, consisting of lots of exciting stuff - half-price food offers, baby and toddler mornings, live music and a family day giving away free hot chocolate with all the trimmings for the kids.

“We are open 9am to 11pm every day. Day times it will be a coffee shop and lunch time venue for all ages, plenty of room for pushchairs too. In the evening it turns into a bar/casual dining venue still embracing that relaxed atmosphere. It doesn’t matter if you want to spend the early evening reading a book with a glass of wine sat in front of one of our large windows with the sun on your back or if it’s food and a catch-up with friends and family, everyone is welcome.”

Stew and Oyster first opened a small bar in Leeds city centre in 2009. It has since been extended twice with new bars opened in Oakwood, Otley and Boston Spa.

Gemma said: “We are very community-minded and a people-championing brand - not just a bar that does food.

“For example, at some of our other sites we provide mums and tots sessions and also cater for local dementia groups.

“We want more than to just create amazing experiences for our guests, we want to be at the heart of the communities we serve and regarded by our customers as a fundamental part of the places where they work and live. We are sure Stew & Oyster will work well for Malton and are delighted to be at the final stages now.”