Published: 10:32, 13 October 2020
| Updated: 10:34, 13 October 2020
A newly-refurbished pub has been deluged with bookings for an exclusive new dining concept.
Luxurious private pods are being installed at The Plough in Ivy Hatch, near Sevenoaks , and landlord Alfie Johnson says they have been shocked by the huge interest from the public.
The themed capsules will seat up to six guests for dinner and drinks, with revellers able to pick their own playlist on their personal Bluetooth speakers.
After a hectic year refitting the pub, Alfie and his wife Katie are looking forward to finally opening the doors to guests later this month.
"We started the launch of it on Saturday," 38-year-old Alfie said, "and since then we have had over 200 bookings, cover-wise it's the best part of 1,400 covers, it's madness.
"I think it's something different, we are going to be the only people with these pods in Kent, and people like something different. Fingers crossed it's a snowball effect and it continues, unless anything changes.
"We are just getting the final touches done, the floor needs sanding down, furniture needs to come in, but we are near enough there."
"There's heating inside and some of them have their own little bar in there as well..."
The pods are the creation of an events company from Chartham, near Canterbury , called Valentina Occasions, and The Plough has struck an exclusive deal to use them at their pub.
It is hoped the unique concept will attract customers who want to enjoy a night out safe in the knowledge they are socially distanced from other guests. The space can be booked for a one-off fee, with drinks and food then billed separately.
"We are getting three pods in at the moment, because we want to see how they go," Alfie said.
"There's only a certain amount of space for them, because they are quite big. They seat up to 12 people, but obviously during this time we can only have six in at a time.
"We haven't paid for the pods, it's £35 through the week and £65 of a weekend to secure bookings and if anything changes, if we get another lockdown or whatnot, then the money gets refunded or we can change the date.
"You get your own Bluetooth speaker so you can play your own music, there's heating inside and some of them have their own little bar in there as well."
The Plough currently employs around 10 staff - including MasterChef The Professionals semi-finalist Freddie Innes - and the majority of the roles created have gone to local people.
The Johnsons, who also own a pub in Buckingham, hope that with more people spending time locally while working from home business will be brisk.
Alfie said: "A lot of people who are now working from home, who should be working in London, that's why people are coming to more rural places like us to have something to eat or drink."