DCSIMG

Biggest pub in Gosport is a hit with live music fans and food lovers

The Bar staff at The White Hart public house in Gosport feature in the News Love Your Local feature. (left to right), Sarah Sloane, Paddy Basson, landlord Ben Kevern, and Daniel Hathaway.
Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (123762-1)

The Bar staff at The White Hart public house in Gosport feature in the News Love Your Local feature. (left to right), Sarah Sloane, Paddy Basson, landlord Ben Kevern, and Daniel Hathaway. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123762-1)

It prides itself on being the biggest pub in Gosport and has a reputation for good live music.

As well as having a huge bar, The White Hart, in Stoke Road, has a stage which can hold up to 10 musicians at any one time.

Once a month bands from across the area, including rockers Ragdoll, Superfly and folk punk act Kelly’s Tattoo, perform for locals.

The pub also has room for hypnosis shows and puts on karaoke and disco nights on a regular basis.

Landlord Ben Kevern, 34, who has been in charge of the pumps for three years, was keen to build up the pub as a live music venue because he loves to see people perform.

‘Getting good bands in the pub was something I was keen to do when I took over,’ said Ben.

‘I love live music and I get a great kick out of seeing 150 or so people turning up to watch a band.

‘Then you get people turning up the next day talking about how great a night it was, which makes it all worthwhile.’

Visitors will also be treated to performances from Ragdoll on Christmas Eve and Kelly’s Tattoo on New Year’s Eve.

The White Hart prouds itself on being a pub that is renowned for its food and sport coverage too.

There are six television screens which show Sky Sports coverage of football matches.

The pub also boasts its own beer garden and has two tables used by its pool team and two dartboards for its darts team.

Ben leads a team made up of two assistant managers, five bar staff, three kitchen staff and a cleaner.

‘We’re a close-knit team,’ Ben said.

‘After we close up on a Saturday night we all have a drink together and play some pool and darts. We’re like a big family.

‘Having a team of staff that get on well is one of the keys to success at a pub.

‘If your employees are miserable then that rubs off on the customers.’

The pub makes sure its punters are looked after.

Each Sunday people can tuck into roast potatoes which Ben puts on the bar, and there is an unlimited free supply of spuds for people who buy roast dinners on the day.

‘It’s all about giving your customers something different,’ Ben said.

‘We’re situated in an area where there is competition so we have to keep ahead of the game and give people a reason to come here.’

The White Hart also donates money that it raises to armed forces charity Help for Heroes and to Multiple Sclerosis Society UK.

MEET THE LANDLORD

BEN Kevern enjoys a range of hobbies when he’s doing his duty as a pub landlord.

He goes clay pigeon shooting in either Alton or Alresford on Sunday mornings and likes tending to his mini coral reef aquarium, which he keeps upstairs in the pub.

And when he gets the time he enjoys going fishing around the Isle of Wight and The Solent on his boat, which he keeps moored up at Hardway, Gosport.

‘I’ve always been fascinated with fishes and fish tanks ever since I was young,’ Ben said.

Ben lives with his ten-month old son George and partner Meghan Buckley, 28, above the pub.

The couple are looking to tie the knot sometime next year. ‘Some people tell me they would find it difficult bringing up a child in a pub, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,’ Ben said.

‘Meghan likes to come down to the bar and chat with the locals while holding George. Everyone likes to see how he’s progressing.

‘I like the fact I don’t have to drive 20 or 30 minutes to work, knowing that I can’t spend as much time as I want with my family.

‘The great thing about being a pub landlord is I can have a quick meal with them upstairs, and pop down to the bar and carry on working.

‘Working in a pub is definitely a lifestyle. It’s not your normal nine to five job.’

Ben was the assistant manager of The White Hart two years prior to taking it over. Before that he worked for Staples in its stores across Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and London. ‘The work I do now couldn’t be more different,’ Ben said.

 

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