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14th November 2023

Couple bring a lively 21st century twist to 17th century Shepherd Neame pub, The Coach and Horses in Whitstable

A couple who once ran rival pubs have joined forces to take on their very first pub together, Shepherd Neame’s Coach and Horses.

And Maddie O’Shea and Sarah Jones-O’Shea, who moved to the pub on Whitstable’s Oxford Street earlier this year, after relocating to the seaside town from Dalston in East London just before the pandemic, say “We feel right at home!”

Although the pair have re-energised the historic 17th century hostelry in their own unique way, they also want it to evolve ‘organically’.

Polaroids of regulars on fun nights – both two and four-legged ones – have started to fill up the walls, along with a colourful mural by a local artist in the refreshed suntrap beer garden, and bunting by the local Profanity Embroidery Group (PEG Whitstable) hangs from the ceilings.

Maddie says: “We were always competing with each other when we ran separate pubs – we were really competitive.  It meant when we decided to do this together, we had to learn to work together.”

Sarah adds: “We had a different approach to quite a few things and we had to learn which ones worked best. It seems to work pretty well now.”

The pair, who have been married for six years, and now proudly fly the LGBTQ+ flag from the garden, chose the Coach and Horses as soon as they saw it for their first joint venture.

“We feel so at home here,” said Sarah. “I have always loved it – lots of my family live in this area and my Dad had his 50th birthday at the pub. We knew it was right for us – it’s always been a community pub, which is what we love.

“Shepherd Neame have been great and there has been a lot of support. The team leave us alone to just do our thing, but they are there to help whenever we need it.”

The couple have made Whitstable their home and have thrown themselves into local life, getting to know as many locals as possible. Maddie adds: “We have fitted in alright.”

And let’s not forget the couple’s cat Rusky Elizabeth O’Shea, who has settled in effortlessly after the move from London. She likes to say hello but beware anyone trying to give her a stroke.

The pub, which has a large bar which welcomes customers as they arrive, also has a spacious dining area where a menu of delicious fresh bar snacks are being served with local pop-up Terra Nova Kitchen while a kitchen refurbishment is in the pipeline. The menu includes scotch eggs, sausage rolls, pizzas and Shakshouka Fridays to Sundays, served from a wood-fired oven in the garden.

At the front of the pub there is a ‘snuggy snug’, while further in, customers can find a further snug, where you may find Rusky curled up.

The Coach and Horses now specialises in seasonal Prohibition-style cocktails, which are Sarah’s forte, and customers can also join in a Guinness drinking game – which according to the latest tally, on the wall, is Maddie’s specialty!

And the pair, supported by the whole Coach and Horses family, which includes Manager Josh Pollard and Supervisor Sebastian Parry, are also active on social media, sharing the diverse range of events which now take place at the pub, including quiz nights, live sports and exciting pop ups all in the pipeline.

You can find the 17th century pub with a 21st century twist at Oxford Street, Whitstable, CT5 1DB, visit or call 01227 264732.


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.

Shepherd Neame is not responsible for the content on third party websites.

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