TWO of Romsey’s edge-of-town pubs have been given a new lease of life after being closed for months.
The Dukes Head, at Greatbridge, is back in action and the Hunters Inn, at Woodley, is about has also reopened after owners Enterprise Inns found new tenants for both.
New landlord at the Dukes Head, Shaun Green, said the pub would become more food orientated.
“It will be a more food-led business, with a wide-range of meals on offer, like fresh sea food, cod and chips, jacket potatoes and traditional Sunday roast,” said Shaun, who worked as chef at the Ministry of Defence’s Worthy Down site near Winchester for about three years before taking on landlord duties at the Dukes Head this month.
Romsey born and bred, 44-year-old Shaun said he’s looking forward to making a go of his new business. “I’ve always been a chef and I’ve had my own pub and restaurant in Chichester for 12 years prior to 2010.
“I thought I’d give it a go here at the Dukes Head. I’d always liked the pub. It was run-down and in state and it’s now been smartened up.”
His girlfriend, Karen Hansford, is working in the bar and is also engaged as a waitress.
Shaun had a lot of experience in the pub trade in the 1990s in the Romsey area. He was head chef at the Mill Arms in Dunbridge, chef-manager at what is now Bertie’s Restaurant and a chef-partner at the Malt House Inn, at Timsbury The Dukes Head is open between 11am and 2.30pm and 5.30pm and 11pm weekdays and all day at weekends.
Carol and Martin Rickman are the tenants of the Hunters Inn. They are building up a mini-pub empire, as they also have the Malthouse Inn, at Timsbury and the Sun Inn, Romsey.
Martin explained that his busines partner in the Hunters is Romsey man, Gary Whitfield.
“He’d been a regular at the pub for 35 years and he asked me to help rescue it and get it back to its glory days,” he told the Advertiser.
Martin said it had a lot of potential, which was proved when the reopening of the bar brought 170 customers through the doors on Friday.
The new-look Hunters will have two bars – one with large screen TVs for showing football and other sports events and another, quieter family- friendly saloon bar. The dining area is being refurbished and food will be available from September 4.
Romsey Extra Parish Council chairman, John Parker, who had expressed concerns about the long-term future of both pubs, said he was glad to see refurbishment at the Hunters Inn had been undertaken.
“Hopefully, the new tenants will revitalise what has hitherto been a well-loved local meeting place,” he said.