Published: 14:31, 25 April 2021
| Updated: 17:51, 26 April 2021
A £62,000 renovation of a pub garden in Canterbury has seen the venue's outdoor seating jump for little more than 50 to 280.
The impressive-looking refurbishment of The Dolphin is already proving popular with drinkers and diners.
Pub magnate Charles Smythe - who also runs the Old City Bar, Black Griffin, Seven Stars and Thomas Becket - took on premisses last March.
He has pumped thousands of pounds into redesigning the massive garden at the St Radigunds venue and is now beginning to at last reap the rewards.
“Originally we put a patio and decking area down as it was very difficult to get into the garden down four steep steps,” he said.
“Then when we were open for the few months after the first lockdown, we realised the grass turned into a big dust bowl. So we’ve patioed all of it to make sure no one will slip over.”
A huge tent cover has now been installed, allowing drinkers and diners to enjoy their stay, protected from spring showers.
“We’ve increased the seating from 54 to 280,” Charles said.
“About 180 can fit under the big stretched tent with heating, and of course be socially distanced.
“The tent is 10x12 metres and that only covers a third of the garden - so we’ve got a massive space.
“One thing we’ve taken on board during all of this is waiter and waitress service and how everyone loves going to Europe sitting on tables and being served outside.
“So we’re going to carry that on even after all the restrictions are over.
“We have a minimum of 10, usually 15 staff outside, and we’ll have an outside bar operating when we’re allowed. I’m not going to say people won’t have to ever wait for drinks but we’ve reduced it as much as possible.”
Mr Smythe is planning on taking down the large cover at the end of June to allow all drinkers to bask in the summer sunshine.
He says the pub, which opened at 10am last Monday and was full by midday, is proving to be immensely popular.