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Dorking’s oldest pub, the Kings Arms, has new licensees and a new look.
Believed to be the oldest building in the town, dating back to 1405, the Shepherd Neame pub has been taken on by licensees Gurdeep Manku and Rosie Adams.
The couple met eight years ago while working at a London pub, and as Rosie was originally from Dorking, they moved back in 2008 when starting a family.
The pair became licensees of The Cricketers Inn, and as a result of their success, decided to look into taking on a second pub.
Gurdeep said: “We knew the Kings Arms well, as it is just on the next street, and liked it, so when the opportunity arose to take on the tenancy last year we applied, and were delighted to be successful.”
The historic pub was in need of some modernisation, so the brewery agreed to fund a £140,000 renovation project, which started in February and finished this month.
Works carried out include structural improvements to the roof and chimneys, a new central heating system, refurbishment of the toilets, a new bar counter and back bar and new flagstone floor in the snug bar. The pub was completely repainted inside and out, new wall decorations sourced and new electrics installed.
The pub has two courtyards which were both given a makeover, including the introduction of a new 50” outdoor TV screen. The larger courtyard was also decorated with bicycles to reflect the local area’s heritage, as nearby Box Hill was used for cycling events in the 2012 London Olympics and there are several cycling groups in and around the town.
A new timber floor was installed in the restaurant, and Gurdeep and Rosie are working with chef Alec Donnelly to develop a new menu for the pub.
Gurdeep said: “We currently only offer lunches, served from noon to 3pm, Monday to Saturday, and until 4pm on Sunday, but we are hoping to introduce an evening menu. It will still be our traditional pub classics, hopefully served two or three nights a week.”
Gurdeep added: “We are really pleased with the pub’s new look, and have received lots of compliments from locals. Looking after two pubs is a lot of work, but we enjoy the challenge and have some great staff to help us.”
At the pub’s official opening on Monday, April 7, the first pint was pulled by Rosie’s father Paul Adams, a chartered accountant involved in the licensed trade.
Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame also attended the launch event, and to mark the occasion presented a cheque for £500 to local charity The Brigitte Trust, which supports people facing life-threatening illness.
Property and tenanted trade director George Barnes said: “We have to be very sensitive when refurbishing an historic building such as this, to provide the modern facilities that people want without undermining its unique character. We are very pleased with the refurbishment and are confident that Gurdeep and Rosie will make the Kings Arms a great success.”