A POPULAR town centre pub has been saved from closure after a national company stepped in and bought in.
Pub company Stonegate has bought the Vanguard, on West Street, Fareham, and saved it from administration.
Stonegate bought the pub as part of a package of 78 pubs purchased from the administrators of Bramwell Pub Company.
The news came as sweet relief to punters in the Fareham pub, which is in a converted church in the heart of the town centre.
Regular and pub personality Dave Robinson was pleased by the news and said he hoped the karaoke nights would continue.
Dave, 57, said: ‘I like the Vanguard because it has a friendly atmosphere and the staff are nice.
‘More people need to come in here, it’s great. If it closed there would be nowhere in Fareham to do karaoke.
‘I’m the king of the karaoke in Fareham. It’s my theatre.’
Friends Tom Gillespie, 33, Stewart Taylor, 32, and Shane Conduit, 28, said it was the best way to start a night out in Fareham.
Stewart said: ‘It’s good on a Friday and Saturday night – it gets quite lively.
‘There’s nowhere else like this to go. It’s also a good place to come for a meal. I’ve been a few times with my wife. It is quite reasonable.’
Ronald Hunt, 52, said: ‘It’s a good pub. It’s got good ales and great staff, I’ve been coming here since it opened.’
The news was not only well-received by the drinkers.
Rev Paul Bedford from Fareham United Reformed Church said: ‘I am pleased that someone has bought it. It is a very good location.
‘We held our carols in the cafe there last year and we held an open air service there on Good Friday.
‘I know other groups that have benefitted from using it too. Being so central, it’s good that a business is not closing.’
Toby Smith, CEO of Stonegate said: ‘We are delighted to have concluded the purchase of two Hampshire pubs – the Redbridge in Andover and the Vanguard in Fareham – and welcome the teams who work within them.
‘They are fantastic sites with great potential and we are particularly pleased that with this deal we can secure the jobs of approximately 1,600 people nationally too.’
Stonegate Pub Company is the largest privately-held managed pub operator in the UK. The company has 625 pubs and won the Best Pub Employer in the national Publican Awards this year.