Meet the manager: Alan Fry

The Castle in the Air pub in Fareham.       Picture: Steve Reid (112324-705)
The Castle in the Air pub in Fareham. Picture: Steve Reid (112324-705)
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WHEN Alan Fry first went to the Castle in the Air to provide cover for a previous manager he fell in love with it.

And as soon as he saw that it was available to run, the 47-year-old jumped at the chance to take it over.

He said: ‘I had been waiting and waiting for it to come up, ever since I had looked after it for three weeks.

‘It felt like home the moment I came here – the people, the atmosphere, everything about it – and I fell in love with it.

‘As soon as the chance came up, I grabbed it immediately.’

Alan, who is originally from Portsmouth, has a total of 14 years’ experience in running pubs all over the country, including the Wicor Mill in Portchester as well as venues in Sheffield, London, Brighton.

However, when he decided to change trade because he had a young family, he went into construction work.

‘I did that for five years,’ he said. ‘But then they made me redundant for Christmas in 2008 and I thought, what do I know best?

‘So I got back into the brewery game.

‘I was a bit worried because it was just at the time the recession was starting and there was all this news about pubs closing, but I seem to have been lucky.’

His last pub before coming back to Fareham had been in Bath. ‘It was right next to the Theatre Royal, so we had all sorts of famous people in – Pavarotti came in once and so did Joan Collins. It was a brilliant place to work.’

But after years of running various pubs, Alan said this is where he wants to stay for the rest of his career.

He added: ‘I want to be taken out of here in a box.’