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9th November 2023

It’s a home from home for Shepherd Neame licensee Matthew Brett as he takes on running the pub he grew up in, the Deal Hoy

Taking on Shepherd Neame’s Deal Hoy was a true homecoming for new licensee, Matthew Brett, as the pub was his childhood home when his parents ran it in the 80s.

Matthew, who is now running the pub in the Kentish seaside town with wife Martine, knows the place inside out, but there’s no nostalgia when it comes to the decor – instead, it has a new, fresh feel.

Matthew has fully redecorated throughout, using a seaside-inspired colour scheme of blue, teal and white, and introduced local artists’ work on the walls.

He has had all the seating reupholstered by a local firm, sanded the floors, and given the pub frontage a lick of paint too.

Outside, the sun-trap beer garden with its 13 tables has been cleared and tidied, and the wood-fired oven is up and running, serving wood-fired pizzas, slow-cooked barbecue ribs and crispy barbecue wings, with a selection of starters and desserts also available.

Matthew said: “When I run a business I put my heart and soul into it – and that’s what I’ve been doing since taking over – it’s now bright, it’s clean, it’s airy.”

He added: “I grew up here – I have so many fond memories, especially of the customers from then. I keep getting flashbacks of some of them and of how the place used to be.

“My mum, Linda, used to sit behind the bar on a stool, knitting. She was known for it! Back when I was about 11 or 12 and I used to be bottling up and checking the lines at weekends. I also became a mean pool player.”

Matthew, who is an accountant by trade, is the third generation of his family in pubs, as his Nan and Grandad, Bill and Iris, also ran a pub in the town, while his parents Linda and Trevor, ran the Deal Hoy from 1986 to 1991.

He and Martine moved to the Duke Street hostelry from another former Shepherd Neame site a stone’s throw away, The Saracens Head in Alfred Square, which was sold by the company in the summer.

The couple have two daughters, aged 13 and 16, the oldest of whom works part-time with them.

Among the nine full and part-time staff is long-serving Bar Manager Ben Doran, who is well known to regulars, having worked for the previous licensee.

“We have already had some great feedback from customers since taking over,” said Matthew. “People have been telling us they love the changes we have made, particularly its bright new look, and our menu is proving really popular.”

A trained chef, Matthew is introducing a sharing roast later this month, which will be served between noon and 5pm at weekends, and cost £30 per board based on two people sharing. It will use free range, locally-sourced meat with honey roast vegetables, homemade roast potatoes, greens with leeks, Yorkshire pudding and red wine gravy. There will also be a vegetarian option. He also plans to organise special events including pop-up pie nights.

Matthew has also staged some private events at the pub since taking over, including a wedding and an engagement party, as well as three small live music gigs, which have been held on Sunday afternoons.

Matthew added: “We love Deal and it is fantastic to be back in the pub which has such special memories for me.”

The small pub, situated in a pretty Deal backstreet, has a large public car park a short walk away at the end of the road.

It can be found at Duke Street, Deal, CT14 6DU, by calling 01304 363972 or by visiting It now closes at 10.30pm on Sundays and 11.30pm on Fridays. Please check the website for full opening times and food serving times.


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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