‘By locals, for locals’ – new tenants take on village pub with big ideas

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 November 2017

New team at the Ship and Castle, Congresbury.

New team at the Ship and Castle, Congresbury.

Archant

A village pub-restaurant is under new management, promising the return of a locals’ bar and an ‘exciting’ selection of ‘high-quality’ food.

New team at the Ship and Castle, Congresbury. New team at the Ship and Castle, Congresbury.

The keys to Congresbury’s Ship and Castle, in High Street, have been handed to new tenants Mark Green and Sarah Aston-Davies.

The couple have taken over after Mezze Restaurants, which ran The Ship and Castle for five years, decided to leave the village.

The new tenants, who had a short stint in charge at the pub a decade ago, have called for the support of the community and hope ‘exciting’ upgrades will make the grade two-listed building a ‘thriving pub again’.

Mr Green told the Times: “We have many years experience of running a pub and we’ve earned our reputation.

The Ship and Castle, Congresbury. The Ship and Castle, Congresbury.

“We started working for ourselves at The Ship and Castle 10 years ago until Green King renovated it for letting.

“We moved on around the South West but we jumped at the opportunity when the pub became available.

“We are local people. Sarah grew up in Congresbury and our children go to St Andrew’s Primary School, so we have strong links with the community.”

The pair has commissioned a revamp of the pub’s interior, which is drawing to a close, and has plans to renovate its six en-suite letting rooms.

Mr Green also hopes the pub will offer greater appeal to villagers.

He said: “We want to bring the locals’ bar back so residents can enjoy a pint or two in an informal setting, with a pool table and fruit machines.

“We have two extremely talented chefs putting together a new menu for all pockets using high-quality local food.

“It is a good menu. The chefs want to do things from handmade pizzas and burgers to fine dining.

“Greene King is decorating the pub and we, as new tenants, are bringing the interior up to standard.

“The pub is still trading with the decorators doing one room at a time, and we hope to finish next week.

“We hope people come and have a look at the exciting new changes we are making.

“With the support of the community we can make The Ship and Castle a thriving pub again.”

A Mezze Restaurants spokesman told the Mercury it wishes the new tenants ‘the best of luck’.

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