Love Your Local: The Jolly Farmer, Warsash

New landlords Sarah Cooper (46) and her husband Frank Cooper (46) outside The Jolly Farmer.  Picture: Sarah Standing (150272-7408) PPP-151102-174340001
New landlords Sarah Cooper (46) and her husband Frank Cooper (46) outside The Jolly Farmer. Picture: Sarah Standing (150272-7408) PPP-151102-174340001
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It is a pub that has been run by the same family for three decades.

James O’Grady is the new general manager of The Jolly Farmer in Fleet End Road, Warsash, after his father Martin stepped down at the end of last year.

Martin, 69, decided to retire after taking on the pub when moving over from the Isle of Wight in the early 1980s.

The lease was sold to local businesswoman Sarah Cooper and her husband Frank, who have chosen to keep on James so the pub keeps its family feel.

And the pub’s two chefs – who have clocked up 50 years of service between them – are still busy preparing the meals.

Since the takeover, the pub has undergone a makeover as the team give it a fresh look.

James said he was delighted at being given the chance to continue.

‘The owners are friends of mine and this is something they have always wanted to do,’ he said.

‘They have eaten and drunk here for many years, and I think one of the main things that has drawn them here is the events that we do.

‘We have a great reputation for fresh food and seafood.

‘I’ve had lots of ideas and it’s great we’ve been able to work together on them.’

He added: ‘It’s a traditional, English pub.

‘But we have been able to upgrade it and bring it back up to date.’

The bar and restaurant area have been redecorated and the bar has also been doubled in size.

All of the pub’s rooms are being brought up to date and the garden is being moved to enable better access.

A new front entrance and toilets have been installed, as well as a display area showing off a selection of champagnes, vodkas and liquors.

And an outside bar was built over Christmas, which will allow customers to enjoy a drink while watching music in a marquee over the upcoming bank holidays.

The pub has introduced a curry and quiz night and an open mic session will run for the first time next month.

A new menu is also set to appear.

Talking about the year ahead, James said: ‘We just want to keep up the high standard of food being produced and the most important thing is to continue running it well.

‘We’re very family orientated.’

Sarah, 46, who also runs her own hair salon, said: ‘James is very well known in the pub as he has been here for many years.

‘People who haven’t been in for a while and come back like the fact he is still here and there hasn’t been a complete change.’

Meet the landlord

BUSY pub landlords Sarah and Frank Cooper juggle their duties at The Jolly Farmer with other jobs.

Frank has run a plumbing and heating business for the past seven years and his wife owns Monet Hair Dressing, in Warsash Road, Warsash.

She previously was part of a family business that was sold eight years ago.

And now the couple are enjoying life as publicans for the first time.

Despite having busy lives, Sarah said: ‘We will definitely be able to make a go of it here.

‘We only live a few minutes down the road and we have always known The Jolly Farmer has had a good reputation.

‘I’ve always said to my husband over the years that I would like us to run a pub.

‘I spoke to James about it and it happened quite quickly.’