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Bosses at new Sheerness pub, The Belle and Lion, are pleased with the first month's performance and other traders say it's boosted business

By Emma Grove

Islanders have been drinking almost 400 pints of lager a day at the new Wetherspoon pub.

The Belle and Lion in Sheerness has released figures for its first few weeks of trading, which show just how popular it has become.

From opening day at the High Street watering hole on Tuesday, July 22, to Sunday, August 17, 2,575 breakfasts were sold.

Kelly Smith, manager of The Belle and Lion, says the first month has gone really well
Kelly Smith, manager of The Belle and Lion, says the first month has gone really well

Staff poured 3,503 hot drinks, dished out 3,191 burgers and hot dogs and pulled 10,791 pints of lager.

The top two food products are fish and chips, ordered 780 times, and the chicken and rib combo, sold to 679 customers.

Manager Kelly Smith, who runs the pub with her husband Chris, says the busiest periods have been lunchtimes and club nights, where punters can get a deal on food and drink.

She said: “We have had a fantastic month with the first two weeks exceeding ours and the company’s expectations.

“The highlight was the Mayor and Mayoress of Swale joining us for lunch on open day, and myself and some of the team watching the fireworks last weekend from the roof.

“General feedback has been good.

“We can’t please everyone, yet the team are working hard to ensure every customer receives the best service first time.

“We are very pleased with the way we have been so well received in the town and look forward to strengthening our community links.”

She says things have calmed down slightly now and they are looking forward to the future which include a menu change on October 1 and a J.D. Wetherspoon Real Ale Festival from October 17 to November 2.

Christmas meals will start mid-November until December 23 and it will even be open for food on Christmas Day for bookings only.

The firm has also set up good links with some local companies and they hope to continue collaborating next year.

The £1.2 million refurbishment of the former Brittain and Hobbs shop in the High Street was approved in February and has created around 60 jobs.

New cladding at The Goat and surrounding buildings in High Street, Sheerness
New cladding at The Goat and surrounding buildings in High Street, Sheerness

Tommy Holland, co-owner of the nearby Goat pub and Tantra nightclub, welcomed Wetherspoon when it was announced and says he is delighted to say it has made a positive difference to his own trade.

He said: “Since it opened I’m well up. I said it would bring people down to the town and I’m pleased to say that what I expected to happen has happened, and I’m grateful.

“There are more customers and it’s busier of an evening.”

He has just spent £14,000 on revamping the front of the buildings along the High Street with wooden cladding.

It was supposed to take around four weeks but after some cracks were discovered it turned into a bigger job and took 10 weeks or so.

He said he wanted the area to have a bit of an impact and give it back its character. He said: “It was originally a wooden building so we decided to put it back to its former glory. I’m proud of it – a lot of people have commented on how it looks.”

Work is also going to refurbish the inside of the pub and he will then turn his attention to revamping the arcade and Tantra, off Bridge Road.

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