A dad who pulled pints behind a pub’s bar for 13 years has now taken over the seaside establishment.
Jake Alder started working at the Pearson’s Arms in Whitstable aged just 22, going on to become bar manager, and now landlord.
The 35-year-old has vowed to make sure the inn’s family feel continues, running the venture alongside his wife Chloe, business partner Jerome Engramer, 40, and Jerome’s partner, Cindy.
The dad-of-four says: “We both can’t wait to get started, it’s really special.
“I love the bar and the general feel of it, the way we’ve curated a family feel for the staff too makes me proud.
“It’s a hard time for the industry but we’re hoping the community can support us.”
Whilst the building itself is up for sale, Jake and Jerome have signed a 15-year lease to take over the management of the gastropub, which has a prime spot in the town, overlooking the Thames Estuary.
Their first day as official landlords was on February 1 and the pair are keen to thank all of those who had supported them so far.
The property is owned by the Whitstable Tavern Company who have attempted to sell the freehold on and off for years- but the pair say this isn’t a cause of concern.
Jake and Jerome will bring in a new menu in time for the summer, and also plan to build a cocktail bar upstairs to allow for quicker service to diners.
Similar to Jake, who was previously at the Grove Ferry Inn in Canterbury, Jerome, a father of two, is no stranger to the hospitality sector, having grown up in restaurants run by his parents.
He has worked on and off at the Pearson’s Arms for ten years, with the pair meeting at the pub, going on to forge a friendship and business partnership.
Jake says: “Working here for as long as we have, we’ve been able to see how and where improvements would fit in and now we’re in a position to actually do that.”
“The changes won’t all come at once, we’ll phase them in and it could be a couple of years before we’re at that place.
“Hopefully together we can bring the full package.”
French-born Jerome adds: “It’s not just any pub, it’s not a Shepherd Neame, it’s not just a drinking pub or a gastropub – it’s in its own league and it’s that special.”
Punters can expect Jake to take the lead at the dog-friendly bar on the ground level whilst Jerome will head up the restaurant.
The pub is open Wednesdays to Sundays.