Publicans often feel the need to make big changes when they move to a pub to help it grow.
But Chloe Watson loved The Artillery Arms, in Hester Road, Eastney, Portsmouth, just the way it was when she and fiancé Steve took over.
We wanted it to be a pub where you can walk in with your dog and have a pint, so there have been no drastic changes.Pub manager Chloe Watson
The couple loved the local’s sense of community spirit and the cheery nature of the customers – and want to keep building on its success.
Chloe, 30, originally from Alton, said: ‘There was essentially nothing wrong with the pub.
‘It had a really strong community spirit, it’s tucked away amongst the chimney pots, and it’s so well supported by a lot of families and people who have been visiting the pub for many years.
‘We didn’t want to scare people away with gastro pub ideas and an amazing wine list.
‘We wanted it to be a pub where you can walk in with your dog and have a pint, so there have been no drastic changes.’
The pub is gearing up for a family fun day on July 11 that will raise cash for St James’ Hospital, in Milton.
A bouncy castle, barbecue, face painting and music from a DJ will all be in store at the event, which will take place between 1pm and 7pm.
And Chloe, who took on the pub three months ago, says it’s thanks to one of her locals it’s being laid on.
She said: ‘One of our locals, Dave, is a security guard at St James’.
‘He gave us a call and asked if we would be welcoming to support it.
‘It’s about the community side of things. He came up with the concept. It’s mainly for the family.’
Speaking of the pub’s proud family focus, Chloe said: ‘Unfortunately nowadays, a lot of pubs are disappearing and we don’t want to be cutting out an audience.
‘We want to make the pub welcoming to everyone.
‘Steve has a son, and we have a puppy, so we are a family and want others to come and enjoy it just as much as we do.’
Chloe hopes to run beer festivals in the coming months and take locals on trips to the brewery which owns the lease of the pub – The Triple fff Brewing Company Ltd, based in Alton.
A pub quiz is held on Mondays and pool and dart teams play throughout the week.
A meat raffle is held on Fridays and Sundays.
Talking about how life has been at The Artillery Arms so far, Chloe said: ‘I have found the experience extremely rewarding.
‘Taxing for sure, and the hours are long, but it’s all worth it.’
Meet the manager
HARD-WORKING pub manager Chloe Watson is proud of the brewery she works for.
She worked under The Triple fff Brewing Company Ltd when she was a supervisor at The Railway Arms, in Alton.
And it was thanks to the firm she secured the role as manager for The Artillery Arms.
‘I loved working at The Railway Arms and it gave me responsibility,’ she said.
‘I ran it when the pub landlord was on holiday, and when the opportunity came up my boss said did I want to take it.
‘So there we are, we now have the place.’
And Chloe, who has been in the hospitality industry for 14 years, has no regrets about setting up life in the city.
‘It all seemed very quick but it was a great destination down here,’ she said.
‘It’s very much about keeping it a real ale pub.
‘We try to keep the Campaign for Real Ale involved as much as possible, and we have just been given our first Cask Marque accreditation for the quality of our beer.
‘It’s very community-led here; you can walk in not knowing anyone and walking out knowing everyone.
‘A lot of people who come in chat with everyone sat around the bar for hours.’
The pub used to be run by former journalist Peter Watson, who was a BBC World Service reporter for 20 years.
Prior to that he wrote for the Malvern Gazette, in Worcestershire.
He took over the pub in 2009 before Miss Watson and her fiancé took charge three months ago.