Hopes are high after a 300-year-old pub feared lost forever reopened adorned in traditional Kentish decor.
Jo and Patrick Coevet threw open the Anchor’s doors in Faversham last Thursday after extensive work behind the scenes to spruce the place up.
The 18th-century inn closed after the town’s Hop Fest in August, with residents kept in the dark over its future until recently, as the cost-of-living crisis forced many others to shut.
Faversham-born Jo said: “We are excited to be reopening and cannot wait for people to see the work we have put in.
“We have already had such a warm welcome. We are taking it back to being a traditional Kentish pub.
“We want it to be a community pub and we have a lot of locals who love to drink here, from all walks of life.
Husband and chef Patrick added: “We always liked this pub and hoped it would come up.”
Shepherd Neame itself is deeply embedded in the couple’s history, having first met at The George Inn in Newnham.
The couple would later go on to be pub landlords in and around Faversham under the brewery’s banner for almost 30 years.
They took on the Albion Taverna 27 years ago for a seven-year spell before going on to be top dogs at the White Lion at Selling for five years and the Red Lion at Milstead for 14 years.
The pair had previously attempted to slow things down, with Jo entering a semi-retirement three years ago but the pull of a pub close to Jo’s heart was too great to ignore.
“This is special for us. The Anchor is like a big and cuddly grandparent who puts its arms around you when you walk in,” said Jo.
“Everyone who comes here feels it - it’s my favourite pub in Faversham.
“I used to play outside here when I was a child with my friend who lived in the adjoining cottage – which is now part of the pub.”
Works to the pub include repainting the walls with heritage colours inside, buying new furniture or refurbished and reupholstering existing items and creating a new menu from scratch.
Shepherd Neame bosses have described the bar as “now gleaming” and claim the “elegant” dining room has been brought back to life - with touches including table decorations displayed in vintage Shepherd Neame bottles.
Diners will be able to choose from starters such as homemade Scotch Egg wrapped in parma ham with lardons, croutons and farmhouse salad.
The menu also features smoked venison and warm pigeon breast with celeriac remoulade finished with sweet blackberry and thyme dressing.
Alongside daughter Estelle, the pair will run the dog-friendly joint with resident bar staff PaigeStubbington, MarkRevell and Megan Lyon, who previously worked at the pub for nine years.