Iconic Hilsea pub is on the up after years of hard work and overhaul

Standing proud in the middle of a busy road in Hilsea, the Coach and Horses has been a drinking institution in Hilsea for nearly 100 years.

Thursday, 5th July 2018, 6:55 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:06 pm
Assistant manager Megan Groves at the Coach and Horses in Hilsea Picture: Kiele-Ann Dunne

The well-known building has seen business boom and die again over the decades but it is currently on the up.

Assistant manager Megan Groves, 33, has been working at the Coach and Horses for two and a half years.

She was one of few members of staff working at the pub when it all went wrong on Christmas Day in 2016. Food didn’t come from the kitchen and diners walked out – leading them to label it as Fawlty Towers in The News.

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The Coach and Horses in Hilsea

However, after a major refurbishment, an overhaul of the team and extensive training, the pub is currently thriving after the difficulty of losing business. Megan said that she’s proud to say they are back on track after a lot of hard work.

Mum-of-three Megan said: ‘We had a very unfortunate run. Christmas Day was – no other words for it – horrific. We lost a lot of trade and respect through it.

‘It has been a long, hard slog to bring that back and prove it was a one off.’

Megan said that despite the bad day, the following festive season was very rewarding and proved a hit – and she said they have already taken many bookings for this year.

She said: ‘It was a raving success and we’ve already had large parties booking for this year because they enjoyed it so much. That just proves we have moved on from those horrible times.’

Megan says that the Coach and Horses now ensures that the customers, food and sports are its main priorities.

Staff are continuously being praised by customers and say they cannot believe how far the team has come in such a short period of time.

The pub, run by Greene King, has a new management team and has had a face-lift since October last year. The £300,000 refurb included a family-friendly restaurant, a snug quiet area and a dog friendly bar. Each area houses one of the four large plasma screens.

There are numerous drinks on offer including an array of different gins, and various cheap deals such as four for £10 on bottled beers.

Megan said they’ve had a busy few weeks with punters drawn in throughout the World Cup, and the pub has been very active on social media.

Megan said: ‘We really do get an overwhelming amount of positive feedback.

‘We wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t for our customers, especially the local members of our community in Hilsea, who are so supportive. They deserve a shout out because they have been so supportive.’