SOME would call it a bit of a gamble in the pub trade.
But an injection of Thai culture at The Fawcett Inn has paid dividends as the Southsea pub celebrates scooping The News pub of the year award.
The concept is unique, no-one else does it and it brings in more people and gets them to know more about the pub.Landlady Michelle Everitt
Landlady Michelle Everitt was keen to turn around the pub’s fortunes, so she hired a Thai chef to run a kitchen preparing tantalising Asian-inspired dishes.
And the move has gone down a storm with punters, who prefer a well-made curry over a plate of chips with their pint.
Speaking after clinching the accolade,
Michelle, 38, said: ‘Words can’t describe how I feel.
‘We have worked so hard here, and everyone has chipped in.
‘It’s a much better place now than it used to be.
‘We used to do stuffed burgers here, but you can get a burger anywhere.
‘I knew a chef called Ken and he specialised in Thai food. He asked if I wanted him and I thought “why not?”.The concept brings in more people and gets them to know more about the pub.’
But the pub is still proud of its classic entertainment – live music goes down a treat on Fridays and Saturdays.
Sports are shown on TV and there’s a quiz night. Michelle, who runs the pub with her partner Jodie Thorne, 39, and is mum to two-year-old Boe, is optimistic about the future.
Michelle said: ‘The response from everyone has been very positive. Everyone is overjoyed with our win.
‘It will show people that we are still here and going strong, that things are different now and we are welcoming.
‘It’s family-friendly. People also see that we’re a family unit and they see we have a little girl. They see us working here and that we work hard. So we have people’s trust.’
The pub employs five staff plus an apprentice. And it’s full steam ahead as they prepare for Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Santa will pay the pub a visit to entertain children. The venue will be open from midday until 3pm on Christmas Day. Michelle said: ‘Everyone’s excited about Christmas. It’s nice to have that community support.’
Coming in second place was Thatchers, in London Road, North End, and third was The Lifeboat Inn, on Sea Front, Hayling Island.