Published: 06:00, 20 August 2020
It's been a family affair from the very beginning for the owners of The Eagle pub in Maidstone, which opened with a new look post lockdown.
Husband and wife team Adam, 27, and Alex Weeks, 26, acquired the pub in Brewer Street together with Alex's parents, Jo and Wayne Miles, in May last year.
But the family's association with the pub goes back much further, as Jo and Wayne met outside the pub some 30 years ago and had their first drink together there.
When their daughter Alex and husband Adam, who had both been working in hospitality since leaving school, wanted to get their first step on the pub landlord ladder, The Eagle was the family's obvious choice.
With licensees Wayne and Jo, under The Eagle Pub trading company, Better By Miles, Alex and Adam, manage the business.
During lockdown Alex and Adam, like many other venues forced to close, completed a dramatic overhaul of the building, including redecoration from top to bottom, with help from family and friends.
The bar which previously included a colour scheme Alex fondly refers to as "nicotine yellow" now has shades of blue, and the exterior has had a lick of paint too.
The revamped outside space has a bar area along the side, which has proved particularly popular both in the recent heat and with regulars missing the chance to sit around the real bar, in line with government restrictions.
Toilet facilities have also been improved and, the piece de resistance is the kitchen, which was completely gutted and refitted, which now means the pub can offer a new menu of "homely pub grub" whipped up by Alex, a trained sous chef, which can also done to takeaway.
"Lockdown gave us the opportunity to do all the extra things that we wanted to do," said Adam.
"We have poured our heart and soul into this place and have worked really hard," said Alex. "Our regulars have been so supportive."
"It is like a family," added Adam, who with Alex also has two members of staff, Lisa and Carol. "Everyone helps eachother, no-one wants to see anyone struggling."
The small pub, under the new guidelines, now has seating capacity for 30, with a one way system clearly marked throughout.
The 'new normal' has meant a slight downturn in trade as it has for many pubs. Alex said: "Some are waiting because they're not ready to come out again yet, and some can't, and some are just waiting for the fun to come back!"
They may not be the only ones, as the fun-loving couple love putting on a pub party night - even pub dog Lenny gets dressed up for Halloween and Christmas - though such events may be on hold for a while yet.
The darts and pool table are out of action for now, but there are plans to extend the outside space too.
And the couple's plans don't end there as they hope The Eagle will be the first in a chain of pubs for them in the future.
Find out more about The Eagle by liking the Facebook page. To order takeaway, call 07719 585387 or 07874146296.