Photos have revealed how a former Wetherspoon pub in Watford has been transformed into a new Mexican restaurant and bar. 

Jardin is set to launch tomorrow (July 10) in the former Columbia Press unit in The Parade, serving authentic Mexican dishes and mezcal cocktails.

Explaining the motivation behind the concept, owner Aly Lad said: “Watford is a great area, but in this 15-mile radius there is not a place that has authentic Mexican food. 

Inside the new Jardin Mexican bar and restaurant.Inside the new Jardin Mexican bar and restaurant. (Image: Newsquest)

“People love Mexican food but if they live in Watford or St Albans where’s the place for them to come out here?”

The 30-year-old owner said he “fell in love” with the former Wetherspoon unit after visiting and has spent over £1.3 million refurbishing the space over the last eight months.Jardin general manager Marston Frederick, owner Aly Lad, head chef Fernando Mendoza and bartender Jayden Davis. (Image: Newsquest) He added it was a “fantastic feeling” to see the venue completed for their private soft launch last Saturday (July 6) and he is looking forward to the opening night tomorrow.

“The team and myself have worked endlessly, we have all put in night and day, done as much as we could and now it’s finally ready to go,” Aly said. “It’s going to be very fun to see how this pans out.”

Jardin in The Parade.Jardin in The Parade. (Image: Newsquest) The Columbia Press served its last pint on February 5 last year as a Wetherspoon spokesperson said it had taken a “commercial decision” to shut the pub.

The former Wetherspoon pub in The Parade.The former Wetherspoon pub in The Parade. (Image: Chris Flanagan) The new venue features large “Day of the Dead” skulls behind the bar and Aly also flew a Mexican artist to the UK to complete hand-painted murals depicting native landscapes on several walls. 

The former Wetherspoon pub has undergone a £1.3 million revamp over the last eight months.The former Wetherspoon pub has undergone a £1.3 million revamp over the last eight months. (Image: Newsquest) Jardin has a similar layout to the Columbia Press, but has brought in new furniture, refreshed decorations, a DJ booth and dance floor at the rear.

The new dancefloor and DJ booth at the rear of the venue.The new dancefloor and DJ booth at the rear of the venue. (Image: Newsquest) Head chef Fernando Mendoza, who came across from Mexico City three months ago, has created lunch and dinner menus featuring a range of traditional dishes that British foodies might not be familiar with such as “red pozole Jalisco style”, a chilli soup with beef.

Behind the bar, there will be cocktails with tequila and their own exclusive mezcal and they will eventually serve the Mexican beer Modelo Especial on draught, which Aly has heralded as a UK-first.

A hand-painted mural by a Mexican artist.A hand-painted mural by a Mexican artist. (Image: Newsquest)

Jardin will be open in The Parade from 3pm to 10pm on Mondays, 12pm to 12am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 12pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.