Beverley Mitchell and her husband Phil have taken over The Fox Tavern in North Street as tenanted landlords, achieving their dream of running a pub.
The new landlady previously ran Bevvy’s Kitchen, a canteen off Harper Way in Fareham, serving bus drivers stopping at the town’s bus station.
Now the keen cook has shelled out £15,000 of her money on her new home and business, creating a new kitchen to serve her home-cooked meals.
The 42-year-old said: ‘There were a couple of work spaces but I’ve had to bring everything in – fridges, freezers, cooker, grill.
‘We’re offering home-made pizzas, burgers, pie and mash, and in the winter we’ll do stews.
‘I’ve already had a few bus drivers pop in because they said they missed my cooking.
‘We always wanted a pub, a family-run pub, offering hearty pub food.
‘We wondered if it was the right thing to do with Covid-19, but everything is a risk in life.
‘It’s worth the investment – we will make it back in time. It’s a very exciting time.’
Despite being a dab hand in the kitchen, Beverly is happy to admit she had never poured a pint in her life before her first day behind the bar of the Gosport boozer.
She said: ‘It’s the first pint I’ve ever pulled on Friday. To be honest, I was pooping myself – I was thinking, “if I can’t pull a pint, what am I going to do?”
‘But it went okay.’
Despite looking at a few other pubs as prospective businesses, it was the history of The Fox Tavern – owned by Admiral Taverns – that captured the couple’s imagination.
The new landlady said: ‘It’s got history, it’s the fact that so many people have been in here and the walls have seen so much.’
The pub is the oldest in the area, having opened in 1736 – and later becoming a popular drinking haunt of Admiral Nelson, according to local legend.
The venue can currently seat 40 people with Covid-19 social distancing restrictions.