IN a quaint Winchester village sits a majestic-looking pub with pastures green, rolling hills and the doting family dog.
Unlike its nearby competitors, the King Charles in Kings Worthy didn’t once shut during its troubled winter though waders were necessary to reach it as the flood waters rose.
But the landlord and lady, Chris and Sharron Bruty, are hopeful they can turn it all around with numerous events coming up over the next six months, boasting sell-out roast dinners, home-cooked food and a friendly atmosphere.
“We lived about two miles up the road in Headbourne Worthy when we took it over so we knew it well,” Sharron said. “Weekends are very busy and when the sun’s out they come flocking in. We even sold out of roast dinners yesterday. Who’d want to eat one in this lovely weather I’m not sure but they kept flying out.”
The couple took over the tenancy in July last year and run it alongside their other businesses.
“I run a shop in Basingstoke and Chris is a graphic designer,” Sharron added. “But we still find time to do what’s needed here.”
The key to their success they claim is their good pub-grub; none of it bought in, all made fresh on site, and a whacking great garden to boot.
Head chef, Carl Hardiman, said: “We’ve got a gourmet burger menu which we’ve had for about two months and it’s really popular. On a Friday or Saturday they account for about a third of all the food sold. All the burgers are made in house with chorizo, chicken and beetroot, or lamb, just something a bit different than your basic cheeseburger.”
Their meat is sourced from The Good Life centre nearby while they always have three to four ales on at any one time. Combined with their newly hand-built pizza oven they’re hoping with their one year anniversary celebrations and their beer festival in September, they can recoup their losses which Sharron believes are around £12,000 from a lack of trading.
“You couldn’t get here on foot without a pair of wellies because of the flooding,” she said. “It was like being on a little island. We were supposed to be having a Valentine’s Day ball and instead we had a contest of who had the best dressed wellies. But we had a lot of local support who pulled out all the stops to make sure we didn’t close.”
Beers range in price from £3.60 for a pint of Fosters to £4.10 for a San Miguel. A 125 ml glass of house wine costs £3.50 and a bottle costs £14.50. Soft drinks start at £1.10 while the house gins and vodkas cost from £2.75.
The gourmet burgers will set you back a mere £10 while main course range from £9-£13. Salads and sandwiched cost between £6-£11 while desserts cost £4-£6.