Historic riverside pub The Lord Nelson in Dover has reopened following a four month, £330,000 transformation.
The Shepherd Neame site boasts a unique location next to the River Dour with views up to Dover Castle, and is also in a prime position alongside the new St James’ Retail and Leisure Park.
The Lord Nelson dates back to 1805, and care has been taken to ensure that the work retains the building’s historic features and character, while introducing a stylish, contemporary feel.
Major structural work included removing the rear conservatory and installing two new sets of bifold doors opening on to the refurbished terrace overlooking the river. A new accessible toilet and baby changing area has been created on the ground floor, and part of the rear bar area has been transformed into a new kitchen. The toilets have also moved upstairs and the space converted into a new dining area.
The site has been redecorated throughout, including exposing original features such as ceramic tile flooring, and tongue and groove wood wall paneling, and introducing contemporary light fixtures and quirky décor. The exterior has also been painted and a bespoke swing sign created. When the weather’s fine, additional tables and seating will be set out at the front.
The project has been overseen by new licensee Chris Bichard, who is running the business with help from his wife Karen.
Chris, who lives in Hempstead, is a successful entrepreneur, founder of South East Coachworks, Bus Conversions and Coach Conversions based in Faversham. His other business ventures have included an external catering firm called Wild Food, and he has brought that hospitality experience to The Lord Nelson Riverside Bar.
Father-of-two Chris said: “I was looking for a new business opportunity and started looking at Dover as it is a really up and coming town. When I saw that The Lord Nelson was available, it seemed ideal. I know Shepherd Neame well and could see that the site had lots of potential due to its location next to the river and also to the new retail park.”
Chris has taken on a new team including his brother Nigel, who is managing the site, along with Bar Manager Rob Wilkie and Head Chef Samuel Jennings. Samuel has created a delicious new menu comprising traditional favourites such as homemade burgers and wholetail scampi and chips, along with a selection of wraps, salads, sharing platters and light bites. There is also a special Young VIP Bar Menu for children, and an afternoon tea menu will be available from March.
Chris said: “Our aim is to create a friendly, relaxed bar with a great food and drink offer, where everyone feels welcome.”
Local residents were invited to the official opening event at The Lord Nelson on Wednesday (February 19) with the first pint pulled by Cllr Trevor Bartlett, Leader of Dover District Council.
Shepherd Neame Chief Executive Jonathan Neame attended the event, and to mark the occasion presented a £1,000 cheque to Dover RNLI, which was accepted by Coxswain/Mechanic Jon Miell.
Jonathan Neame said: “With the exciting regeneration of Dover currently under way, we thought it was the perfect time to invest in bringing the Lord Nelson back to life. Our team has done a great job bringing out the character and personality of the building, and we are thrilled to welcome our new licensee Chris and his family, who have a very clear vision for the site. We are confident that it will prove a popular drinking and dining destination.”
The Lord Nelson is open every day. Find out more at www.lordnelsondover.co.uk