Love Your Local: The Leopard Inn, Purbrook

FRIENDLY The Leopard Inn in Purbrook
FRIENDLY The Leopard Inn in Purbrook
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It used to be an outdated pub with old pool tables, dart boards and sticky floors.

That was before hands-on landlord Jeff Upson stepped in and gave The Leopard Inn a complete makeover.

Gone is the pub’s former lounge bar and in its place is a stylish seafood and steak restaurant, which serves up fresh fish caught on Hayling Island.

Jeff, 41, replaced the former party bar and got rid of its disco ball, dart boards and pool tables.

In its place is a new lounge area with a wooden floor, tables and chairs and a piano.

The pub, in London Road, Purbrook, was repainted and the toilets were replaced.

And all the handywork, which was finished before Christmas, was taken on by Jeff and a select team of locals.

The £6,000 renovation came out of Jeff’s own pocket.

‘I absolutely love this pub and the people that come here,’ Jeff said.

‘But I knew I had to step in and do something about renovating the place.

‘It was in dire need of a refurbishment.

‘The response from all the customers has been fantastic.

‘At first they were a bit wary of me wanting to do it because they didn’t think the place needed changing.

‘Now they keep telling me how much they love it.’

Jeff, who has been in charge of the pumps with wife Louise, 41, for two years, has more plans up his sleeve.

He’s looking to turn a concrete area at the side of the pub into a garden with flower beds, chairs and umbrellas.

On February 29, the pub will hold a three-course fundraising dinner in aid of The Rowans Hospice, based nearby.

Hungry locals will be treated to a range of seafood, soups and steaks.

A raffle will also be held on the night.

Tickets for the dinner cost £15 per person.

‘I wanted to get into the food market because that’s where the money is at now,’ Jeff said.

‘I sat down one day and realised there isn’t a place around this area where you can get seafood to eat, so I thought about doing something myself.

‘We even have live lobsters in fishtanks which will be cooked to order.

‘The customers love how fresh the food is.’

And there’s no chance of Jeff running out of enthusiasm.

‘I absolutely love my job,’ he said.

‘What is most satisfying about being in the pub trade is all the different people you meet. It’s a proper village community here. I really try to look out for my locals.’