Neptunes Hall, one of the best-loved pubs in Broadstairs, is gearing up for a busy year after a major £135,000 winter overhaul.

The pub was officially re-opened last week when Shepherd Neame chief executive, Jonathan Neame, presented a cheque for £1,000 to the local branch of the RNLI.

Built in 1882, the grade II listed pub has undergone an extensive but sympathetic refurbishment. Internally, the pub has been given a contemporary makeover with many of its original features retained, including the bar and the bar back. A new catering kitchen has been installed on the first floor while the toilets have been completely refitted.

Externally, the pub now features new signage, while the courtyard garden has also been landscaped.

To go with the pub’s new look, there is also a new face behind the bar. Jonny Henfrey is the new licensee. He moved with his family to Margate back in 2017 and has been pulling pints at the popular Harbour Street pub since just before Christmas. It’s a pub he was already familiar with, even before taking over as tenant.

He said: “I’ve known the Neptune for the past 15, 20 years. I have family in the area so three, four times most years we’ve popped in. Whenever I visited I was always rather taken with the place.

“Now, as licensee, I am aware of the sense of history about it. The refurbishment by Shepherd Neame has been absolutely amazing, it has managed to retain the pub’s original character while also giving it a contemporary feel.”

Henfrey is no stranger to the food and drink industry. Before moving to Margate he spent a number of very successful years running The Gowlett Arms, in Peckham, south London. He was also the man behind The Crust Conductor, a pizza restaurant based inside an old London double decker bus. So it comes as no surprise that alongside quality cask ales and premium lagers, food plays a big part in what the Neptune Hall offers.

He said: “We’ve been very busy on the food front and our summer menu will start the first week in May. We will be focusing on lighter dishes, things like rotisserie chicken and our specialty, pizza, cooked in our own wood-fired oven. I’ve been making pizza for 20 years now.”

The pub has long been one of Thanet’s best known live music venues, and given that Henfrey is a well-respected DJ in his own right it will continue to be so.

He said: “Music will still very much be a focus for the pub and we look forward to being involved in Broadstairs Folk Week in August. I’m looking forward to the summer. Our garden is looking fabulous and it’s all very exciting.”

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