Love Your Local: The Coach House, Gosport

(l-r) Landlord Gary McEwan and brother Lee McEwan behind the bar of the pub. ''Love Your Local, The Coach House, Fareham Road, Gosport. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (14660-075) PPP-140503-224631003
(l-r) Landlord Gary McEwan and brother Lee McEwan behind the bar of the pub. ''Love Your Local, The Coach House, Fareham Road, Gosport. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (14660-075) PPP-140503-224631003
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He considers himself one of the youngest pub landlords in the country.

Fresh-faced Gary McEwan, 21, is in charge at The Coach House in Fareham Road, Gosport.

While some would think the pressure of running a local at his age could prove too much, Gary is taking the role in his stride.

He took over in January, and runs the pub on behalf of Enterprise Inns with business partner Peter Horne, 54, who is the head chef.

Gary, who comes from Gosport, said: ‘I may well be one of the youngest landlords in the country.

‘There’s not many people who run a pub that early in life.’

There aren’t any other full-time staff apart from Gary and Peter – but Gary’s girlfriend Amy Coe, 21, helps out when she’s not working at TGI Fridays, in Park Gate, near Fareham. The couple live above the pub.

Gary’s brother Lee lends a hand behind the bar when it gets busy.

The pub is a thriving environment at the weekends, because it’s known as a carvery.

Between 50 and 60 customers come and have a roast on Saturday, while nearly 200 punters pack in the pub on Sundays.

Gary said he wants the business to grow and hopes a new free salad bar will help to bring in people during the week.

A pool table, darts board, TV and revamped menu have also been introduced to help lure in drinkers.

And there’s a suggestion box for people wanting to give their input on what extra touches should be added.

‘At the moment, we just want to get a lot busier,’ Gary said.

‘We want to get pool and darts teams in and get more regulars in.’

Gary said that while he was worried at first about whether customers would take him seriously, he said they’ve instead been extremely supportive.

‘Most of the customers have been a bit more lenient on me because I’m new and not someone who is a bit older and more experienced,’ he said.

‘They all seem happy when I speak to them.

‘They say the food is lovely and that I’m doing a good job and they want to keep coming back.

‘This is a food-led pub because of the carveries we do – everyone regards it as a carvery pub.

‘But at the same time, we are trying to get more people into the bar.’

Eager pub landlord Gary McEwan learnt the basics of running a pub while working as a chef at another Gosport venue – The Jolly Roger.

It was there that he met his head chef Peter, who was also working in the kitchen.

The pair worked hard there, but decided after a while it would be great to form a partnership and run their own business.

Gary previously went to Fareham College, where he learned catering skills.

‘This is a lot different to what I was doing before,’ Gary said.

‘At The Jolly Roger, I was just cooking.

‘We got to the stage where we weren’t enjoying it as much as we used to.

‘Then Peter said “why don’t we have a go at doing this instead?”.

‘The change hasn’t been too bad, because I was used to commuting to Gosport from my girlfriend’s house in Whiteley.

‘Now we live upstairs in the pub, so I walk down a flight of stairs and then I’m at work.’

When Gary isn’t working, he enjoys going out socialising with friends, and he also enjoys seeing his favourite football team Arsenal in action when there’s time.

‘I have always either wanted to be a head chef or a manager of a pub or restaurant,’ Gary said.

‘I got the opportunity to do this and Peter told me that if it works out, we’ll carry on.

‘At the moment, the hours aren’t too bad.

‘We close the pub between 3pm and 5.30pm during the week and Saturdays and Sundays are our busiest days.

‘Things slow down a bit on a Monday so it gives you some time to recover.