Shepherd Neame chief executive, Jonathan Neame, flanked by Royal Naval Reserve licensees Andrew and Natalie Hennessy

The Royal Naval Reserve, on Whitstable High Street, has re-opened after a major refurbishment. The pub is grade II listed and has been trading since at least 1760.

A two-month refurbishment project was undertaken by Shepherd Neame, tailored to ensure the work was sympathetic to the building’s age and history.

The main bar area has been upgraded and a separate mezzanine style restaurant area created. A new kitchen has been installed, with food playing a major part in what the pub offers.

In addition to this interior makeover, the exterior has been refurbished and a new pub sign unveiled, while to the rear of the pub a landscaped courtyard garden has been laid out.

There are new licensees at the helm too. Andrew and Natalie Hennessy already run another Shepherd Neame pub in Whitstable, the East Kent, which they have revitalised since taking over in July last year.

Funds towards Whitstable’s Christmas lights

Natalie’s father, John, was on hand to pour the first pint at the launch celebration, and was presented with a silver ale tankard by Shepherd Neame chief executive, Jonathan Neame, to mark the occasion.

Neame also presented a cheque for £1,000 to Whitsparkle, an organisation raising funds to support Christmas lights in Whitstable.

He said: “When we announced the refurbishment of this famous old pub, some fears were expressed, but the finished article should allay any of those fears.

“The complexities of the refurbishment were substantial, and not many companies would have taken on such a project, but at Shepherd Neame we pride ourselves on respecting history and heritage, and with the Royal Naval we have certainly done that.

“I feel sure that the pub will remain at the centre of Whitstable life. Key to any pub’s success is serving its community and adapting to its quirks.”

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