A move from a busy Shepherd Neame seafront hotel to a pub with rooms in the heart of the Kent countryside has meant a change of pace for new General Manager Hannah McDonough.
The 27-year-old has taken on the running of The Evenhill in Littlebourne, near Canterbury, after it moved from being a tenanted site to a managed house with the independent family brewer.
Ramsgate-born Hannah began working part-time in hospitality when studying criminal justice at university in Manchester and later returned to Kent, joining Shepherd Neame’s Royal Albion Hotel as Assistant Manager in 2019. She also served as Acting General Manager last year.
Of her first role as General Manager, she said: “It feels natural for me but it is also a ‘pinch me’ moment.
“There is a lot of pressure of course, but I was Acting General Manager at the Royal Albion Hotel in Broadstairs from July to October, which included Broadstairs Folk Week, so if you can get through that, you can get through anything!”
She takes on the popular village pub from former licensee Fred Perry, who ran it for almost 15 years before retiring last month.
Fred said: “I hit 60 and thought ‘you know what, I am in a position to take things really slowly.’ I’m just having a break. I’ve been working in pubs for the last 30 years so it’s nice to take a step back.
“I thought of the staff and customers as friends rather than employees and customers. Working for Shepherd Neame – it has been absolutely excellent. I can’t thank them enough. It really is a family business, with everyone, including the directors, always willing to help out and support you.”
Regulars at the pub in Littlebourne, which also has 16 rooms, were so keen for it to reopen following the changeover to a managed house, that they even helped move the furniture!
Hannah said: “They are a great bunch. It is such a unique rural setting, everyone knows your name and you know their name. There are a lot of differences between the Royal Albion Hotel and The Evenhill, and it is a change of pace for me.
“But I am very organised and also confident in my abilities. It is a fantastic pub and I’m really excited about the opportunities to take it from strength to strength.”
Of running the team, she added: “I like to think I am very fair. I am understanding of the team and their roles as it wasn’t very long ago that I was in their position.”
Combining traditional charm with contemporary comforts, The Evenhill was originally built as cottages in the 16th century. Today, customers can relax by one of the open fires in the traditional Victorian bar, or enjoy a meal in the spacious beamed split-level restaurant.
Freshly prepared food is served every day, using the finest seasonal local produce to create a delicious menu of home-cooked traditional pub classics and light bites. Customers can also choose from an extensive range of drinks, from Shepherd Neame’s award-winning range of ales and lagers to premium wines and spirits.
Outside, there is space for al fresco drinking and dining, which is also due to be refurbished.
The Evenhill’s rooms, located in a stylish barn conversion to the rear of the pub, are the perfect choice for a countryside break, and are particularly popular due to the pub’s close proximity to Canterbury, with its cathedral and many other attractions.
To book to visit The Evenhill at 62 The Hill, Littlebourne, CT3 1TA, or find out more, visit theevenhill.co.uk or call 01227 728073.