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A Canterbury pub dating back to 1504, Casey’s in Butchery Lane, is set for a £180,000 transformation and has been renamed ‘The Shakespeare’, a return to the historic inn’s former name, by brewers Shepherd Neame.
The pub closed on 22 July for three weeks for the first phase of development of the existing listed building and courtyard. Plans for future re-development in October this year will incorporate a former gift shop on Burgate to the rear of the pub, which was purchased last year by the Faversham brewers and will become ‘Wine at the Shakespeare’.
One of the only independent food outlets in Canterbury, the pub will be run by chefs and Shepherd Neame Tenants of the Year 2012 Gareth Finney, 35, and Dan Sidders, 29. The business partners are also licensees of two other Shepherd Neame pubs in Canterbury The Parrot in Church Lane and Ye Olde Beverlie in St Stephens Green, as well as the Albion Taverna in Faversham. They took over Casey’s in December last year.
The duo, who both trained as chefs and have previously worked together, decided to pool their passion for food and hospitality several years ago, when Dan joined Gareth as co-licensee at the Albion Taverna. Having built-up a pub trade with a Mexican food offer, they have gone on to bring their expertise in successful pub dining to The Parrot, Ye Olde Beverlie and now The Shakespeare.
The Shakespeare will have a strong food-led offer with a mouth-watering menu ranging from nibbles to hearty main courses sourced from the best of Kent produce. In keeping with its location on Butchery Lane, so-called because it was historically home to butchers and food retailers, the menu features some generous meaty morsels. Customers will be able to choose from a Butchers Board of Black pudding & smoked bacon croquettes, sliced home cooked ham, chunks of Pork pie & salt & vinegar chicken wings; a range of Kentish Gourmet burgers; and Crispy Pork Belly, as well as some lighter fish and vegetable options.
Says Gareth, “The Shakespeare will offer a safe haven from the bustle of the city, where people can come and forget the stresses and strains of work and everyday life and enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.
“As well as our lunch and main menus we’ll be offering coffee and pastries during the day, some jazz and soul music to accompany evening drinks and we plan to host evening events for local groups and businesses. We’re very excited about our new wine bar, which will launch later this year.”
The first phase of the refurbishment will include the creation of a smart modern interior as well as new signage and exterior redecoration. The open air courtyard adjoining the two properties will be given a Victorian market feel.
Shepherd Neame property and tenanted trade director George Barnes says, “Gareth and Dan are passionate about food and have created another imaginative food menu coupled with a strong ale, wine and coffee offer. With the extensive investment and redevelopment programme, the Shakespeare will offer a sophisticated city centre pub experience which will appeal to locals, tourists and business customers alike.”
Situated in Butchery Lane, once called Golden Angel Lane until the statue of an angel was stolen in the 18th century, The Shakespeare has long been a favourite place for wandering minstrels and monks alike. Built in 1504 it was originally a theatre, or playhouse and is the only surviving Tudor example after Oliver Cromwell had most of the theatres in England razed to the ground.