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Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame has acquired historic seaside pub restaurant The Coastguard in St Margaret’s Bay, near Dover.
Dating back more than 300 years, The Coastguard boasts panoramic sea views across the small bay, and is Britain’s nearest pub to France.
It was officially taken over by the brewery on Monday, January 11, and then closed for up to eight weeks while a £160,000 refurbishment is carried out.
Work will include repainting the pub inside and out, refurbishing the toilets, installing a new fireplace, and introducing new lighting and decorations. An outside bar and barbecue will also be installed, as well as kitchen improvements.
Award-winning Shepherd Neame licensees Tom and Karensa Miller, who have run the Zetland Arms at nearby Kingsdown since 2013, will be expanding their business by taking on the pub. The pair received the New Licensee of the Year Award at the 2014 Shepherd Neame Pub Awards, and Wine Pub of the Year at the 2015 awards.
Karensa, 36, said: “Before we took on the Zetland Arms, Tom was working as a pipe fitter, so it was a complete change of lifestyle for us, but I had worked in pubs since I was 18 and Tom had grown up in them, so we decided to go for it. We never dreamed that we would have a second pub within three years, but when we saw The Coastguard was available, it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. It is in a fantastic location, and we already have a great relationship with Shepherd Neame. We can see a lot of potential in the pub, particularly for events and functions as there is so much room. Everything has been going really well at the Zetland Arms and we love what we do, so we are really excited about expanding our business with The Coastguard.”
When it reopens, The Coastguard will be open every day and evening, serving freshly ground coffee and a selection of other hot drinks, along with Shepherd Neame’s renowned Kentish ales and wines from independent family vineyards around the world. It will also offer a varied menu of light bites and traditional main meals, and due to its coastal location, seafood will be a speciality.
Tom, 39, said: “We thought the Zetland Arms would be predominantly a summer pub, but we built a reputation for great food so we are busy all year round, and we hope to do the same with The Coastguard. We can’t wait to get started!”
Shepherd Neame’s director of retail and tenanted operations Nigel Bunting said: “We are always looking for opportunities to add high quality outlets to our estate. The Coastguard is in a fantastic seaside location, and we are confident that it will prove a valuable addition to our portfolio.”