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Thousands of pounds spent on new look for Ascot Arms, Gravesend

There was a time when all pubs were at the centre of community life, and the race is on to restore one town bar to such former glory.

Major refurbishment is under way at the Ascot Arms in Central Avenue, Gravesend, at a cost of £250,000, and it is hoped punters will be pleasantly surprised by the more unusual fixtures and fittings included in the revamp.

For among the traditional pumps, pints and packets of peanuts, customers will find a garden centre, organic health food shop and a petting zoo with guinea pigs, chickens and its very own pony.

Simone Vincenzi and Mihaly Herzceg
Simone Vincenzi and Mihaly Herzceg

Taking up the reins when the pub reopens next month will be Simone Vincenzi and Mihaly Herczeg.

Simone, 51, said: “We wanted a pub that could be at the centre of its community and the Ascot Arms was perfect.

“As the only local in the area, it has masses of potential. All it needed was investment and a lot of TLC.”

Such investment has come from Star Pubs & Bars, part of the Heineken chain, and will see the pub transformed both inside and out.

Thousands of pounds are being spent on the Ascot Arms
Thousands of pounds are being spent on the Ascot Arms

Unusual additions aside, there will also be a dining area, sofas, coffee bar, landscaped garden and children’s play equipment.

Simone and Mihaly, 26, already run a Hungarian restaurant and two health food and plant shops in south east London, and hope to bring a taste of these to the pub to complement British menu favourites and cask ale.

The pair also plan a host of activities including karaoke, quiz nights and live music festivals.

“We want the Ascot Arms to be an asset for Gravesend,” added Simone. “A pub which the community can be proud of and where all feel welcome.”

The refurbishment is expected to create at least six new jobs, including full and part-time bar staff, a chef and manager.

Anyone interested can email info@digthisnursery.co.uk

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