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Posted: 21 November 2012
Blog category: Pubs
**The official opening of the Crayford Arms is tonight Wednesday 21st November at 8pm.**
The Crayford Arms, on Crayford High Street, has re-opened after a four-week closure to complete an £80,000 refurbishment by Kent brewer Shepherd Neame. The renovation coincides with the arrival of co-licensees Graham Hillman and Sharon Duffy, who plan to restore the pub’s reputation as Crayford’s ‘original village pub’.
As part of their vision to put community spirit at the heart of the Crayford Arms pub experience Graham and Sharon are giving customers their say in the music played in the pub via a new interactive state-of-the-art digital jukebox, which plays and stores choices from customers’ MP3 players.
Sharon, already a familiar face having worked at the pub for the last six years, will continue to run the pub front-of-house with behind-the-scenes support from business partner Graham. A local born and bred, Graham will draw on 38 years of business experience in international telecommunications to help manage the pub.
Says Graham, “In the late 1950s, when my parents first moved to Crayford, the Crayford Arms was the local community pub. We’re keen to revive this and, by working with Shepherd Neame, restore some of the pub’s early Victorian charm, plugging into the local heritage and giving our hometown a real ale, community pub of which it can be proud.
He adds, “In the past, I’ve been very involved in CAMRA, organising beer festivals. I am passionate about real ale and music – two key elements that I believe make up a great pub.”
Sharon is also enthusiastic about the pub’s role in bringing the community together, adding: “There is always a friendly smile and we make a concerted effort to introduce newcomers to existing regulars. As well as playing host to many local groups and societies, we’re committed to serving first-class real ale. We don’t have a TV but there are always plenty of events going on.”
The new-look pub has retained its three bars – lounge, saloon and snug – which offer cosy meeting areas, in the style of a Victorian alehouse. New bespoke features highlight the pub’s Victorian architecture and draw on local heritage showcasing local industries such as David Evans silk printers and Vickers Armaments.
The large function room upstairs has been redecorated and caters for all kinds of business and social events, as well as being a regular meeting place for local societies.
A pretty courtyard garden with lighting, innovative planting in bird cages and hanging baskets, provides an idyllic setting for outdoor drinking.
Music will be a central focus for the pub with regular events such as folk nights, as well as the introduction of traditional games evenings where customers can try their hand at skittles and dominoes.
Shepherd Neame property and tenanted trade director George Barnes, comments: “The Crayford Arms is an excellent example of a traditional community pub. The licensees are passionate and committed to their vision of providing a quality real ale pub which brings the community together.”
The pub hopes to feature in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2013 and there are plans to offer bar snacks soon.