A nautical theme marked the official launch event for Shepherd Neame’s coastal pub The Duke of Cumberland in Whitstable on Tuesday (September 12).
Volunteers from Whitstable RNLI and Whitstable Coastwatch turned out in force to celebrate the reopening of the town centre pub, which has reopened after a stunning 14-week, £1.8 million refurbishment.
To mark the occasion, both organisations received donations of £1,000 from Shepherd Neame’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Neame, while the first pint was pulled by Visit Kent’s Chief Executive Officer, Deidre Wells OBE.
Dating back to 1867, the pub building has been completely refurbished, with care taken to retain and restore its original features, which include a Grade II Listed bar, while giving the historic venue a contemporary and stylish feel.
The pub, which sits on a striking spot in the heart of the bustling seaside town, at the entrance to the High Street, has been owned by Shepherd Neame since 1898.
The 14-week renovation was completed to the highest standard, with a classic feel of wood and leather complemented by a beach-inspired colour palette in recognition of its seaside location.
In addition to a complete refurbishment of the bar and dining room, the pub’s courtyard garden has had a spacious new decking area installed along with an outside kitchen. A new external function room, The Boatyard, has also been created in the courtyard, which has its own bar and is available for private events.
There are now eight boutique bedrooms, each boasting its own distinctive style and character. Whitstable has long been famous for its oysters, and each of the rooms is named after an historic oyster fishing vessel, known as a ‘yawl’ or ‘smack’, built in the town.
Chief Executive Jonathan Neame said: “The Duke of Cumberland has been part of our estate for almost its whole life – more than 120 years – and is a treasured jewel in our coastal crown, so it was essential for us to ensure that this refurbishment preserved its unique heritage while also invigorating it with a contemporary feel.
“We are proud to be part of Whitstable’s thriving community and hope that the impressive work that has been carried out here will ensure The Duke of Cumberland continues to serve customers for the next century and beyond.”
Visit Kent Chief Executive Officer Deidre Wells said: “I would like to thank Shepherd Neame for making our job at Visit Kent a lot easier because this really isn’t going to be a hard sell! Shepherd Neame’s investment in The Duke of Cumberland is a real boost for our county’s tourism industry. The pub looks fantastic and I’m sure will prove hugely popular with customers, offering a unique place to drink, dine and stay in the heart of Whitstable.”
She added: “Shepherd Neame is one of Kent’s oldest independent family businesses, and it is great to see that family ethos on show at The Duke of Cumberland, with a real team spirit that is essential to a great hospitality business.”
Guests at the official reopening evening enjoyed live jazz hosted in The Boatyard. The pub was previously renowned for its live music events, and General Manager Tina Kennedy plans to retain that tradition with regular jazz and swing nights, along with sunset acoustic evenings.
They were also able to sample the new menu, which is freshly prepared daily, using the finest seasonal local produce and includes freshly caught seafood, with dishes such as whole grilled lemon sole served with seaweed butter, samphire and buttered Nichola potatoes, along with the classic Whitstable Bay beer battered haddock and chips served with pea purée.
The menu is, of course, topped off with an extensive range of drinks, from Shepherd Neame’s award-winning range of craft ales and lagers to a selection of acclaimed English wines, along with premium Kentish spirits and cocktails.
You can find The Duke of Cumberland at High Street, Whitstable, CT5 1AP, call 01227 280617, or to book a table or a room visit www.dukeofcumberlandhotel.co.uk
About Shepherd Neame
Shepherd Neame has been based in the market town of Faversham, Kent for over 300 years. Perhaps best known for great British classic ales such as Spitfire Amber, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Five Grain Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager, and the Whitstable Bay Collection. It also brews international lagers under licence including premium Thai lager Singha. The independent family business boasts an award-winning visitor centre and more than 300 pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, from the historic heart of the City to the Kent coastline.
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