Published: 00:01, 29 May 2019
| Updated: 07:43, 29 May 2019
A £300,000 refurbishment aims to transform a "tired" drinking spot into a "good local pub".
The Prince Albert in Sea Street, Whitstable, is to become the first pub with a sign by street artist Catman - as part of a £300,000 refurbishment that started last week.
The eight-week overhaul will see the premises double in size - with an extension to the rear that will increase the number of seats from 26 to 54.
A patio garden will also be created, with an existing mural by Catman - an anonymous graffiti artist widely heralded as Whitstable's answer to Banksy - taking centre stage.
Licensee Karen Turner, who grew up in the area and runs the pub with Jared MacDonnchadha, said: "There used to be lots of traditional locals in Whitstable but many of them have disappeared over the years. We want to bring that back.
"We’re keeping the original bar and pub feel but, being Whitstable, we’re also adding some quirky features.
"People love our existing Catman mural. We want the pub to reflect the town and are thrilled that Catman has agreed to strike twice here and produce The Prince Albert’s new sign. He’ll bring a different approach to it, which is just what we’re after."
The piece will be painted in the privacy of the artist's studio and then put up at The Prince Albert when the pub reopens in mid-July.
Catman said: "I’ve known The Prince Albert and Karen for a long time. It’s great that it’s being kept as a proper pub and I’m pleased to be able to help. It’s the first pub sign I’ve painted and it will definitely have a twist to it."
An extended range of drinks and new food menu - featuring favourites such as fish and chips, burgers and curries - will also be launched as part of the refurbishment.
A new programme of events and activities is also being introduced - including darts leagues, quizzes to live entertainment.
Karen said: "We’ve always wanted a pub in Whitstable so it was a dream come true when we took over The Prince Albert a year ago. It has had many guises over the years and is tired and in need of TLC.
"We want to take it back to its roots as a good local pub where everyone in the community feels welcome and at home."