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Canterbury pub magnate makes The Dolphin his fifth city boozer

A pub magnate has boosted his portfolio in Canterbury after snapping up his fifth independent boozer.

Charles Smythe this month signed off on a deal to buy The Dolphin, in St Radigunds Street, for an undisclosed fee after its leasehold was put on the market for £195,000 last year.

Charles Smythe has just purchased The Dolphin - his fifth Canterbury pub
Charles Smythe has just purchased The Dolphin - his fifth Canterbury pub

The 50-year-old already owns four city centre pubs – the Old City Bar, Black Griffin, Seven Stars, and Thomas Becket – and refuses to rule out taking on more.

“If an opportunity comes up, I will definitely look at it,” he said.

“There’s no conscious decision about dominating the pub scene here; it’s just been natural progression.

“If there’s a business opportunity, I’ll take it. I’m a firm believer in Canterbury; I think it’s got so much to offer and I can make money out of it.”

The Dolphin had been run by Peter Mickelburgh for 15 years before he decided to sell the business.

The Dolphin in St Radigunds Street
The Dolphin in St Radigunds Street

During his tenure in charge, it was listed among the top watering holes in Canterbury on TripAdvisor and had been named Camra's pub of the year.

Mr Smythe says he will focus most of his funds on improving the tavern’s beer garden, which is one of the largest in the city.

“We will put a lot of seating out there, a ping pong table like the one we have at the Old City Bar, and deckchairs,” he explained.

“It will have waiter service, so you can actually sit there, in the way the Europeans do, with a nice bottle of wine that you won’t be ripped off for and watch the world go by.”

The pub is also decorated with 1950s-1970s memorabilia, without a single TV screen in sight.

And Mr Smythe insists it will continue to be a food-centred alehouse serving traditional grub.

“What I’m not going to do – and I hate this phrase – is turn it into a gastro pub; I’m not up myself,” he added.

“We will change the menu over the next four weeks or so. We want to do good English fare, which is locally sourced and done well.”

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