New lease of life for the Ferryboat Inn

The Ferryboat Inn on Hayling Island which has recently been re-furbished. Manager, Peter McLaughlin.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (133099-11)
The Ferryboat Inn on Hayling Island which has recently been re-furbished. Manager, Peter McLaughlin.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133099-11)
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It was a tired-looking pub that was in desperate need of a makeover.

Now The Ferryboat Inn, in Ferry Road, Hayling Island, has been injected with new life after £250,000 was spent on a major refurbishment.

As previously reported, the pub was shut while the interior was scrubbed up and the waterfront area was extended so 50 customers could sit outside.

Its food was also relaunched boasting a modern menu with a few twists.

There are specialist food boards and combo dishes to suit everyone’s tastes.

And there’s more good news because 15 extra jobs were created, taking the total number of employees to 35.

The venue, which is owned and operated by Stonegate Pub Company, reopened last Friday.

A VIP reception was held for guests and businesses before the public was allowed back in.

The Ferryboat Inn’s assistant manager Jack Turner said the response from the public had been amazing, and many are now keen to book tables there to eat on Christmas Day.

‘The whole of the inside of the pub has been refurbished,’ he said.

‘The outside has been painted and there’s a seating area that shelters you from the wind.

‘We have lots more staff now, which means we can give the guests the service they require.’

The pub is split into three zones, one which acts as a restaurant, a bar and another space which offers guests a bit of both.

Jack said: ‘We’ve got our locals and we attract families and tourists from the local hotels and campsites.

‘We offer something for everyone here.

‘I like the people and the people I work with.

‘Everyone always makes you feel very welcome.

‘I have met hundreds of new people just by working in this industry.’

The pub is a supporter of local causes – 25 per cent of money made from a quiz on Sundays goes towards Hayling Island First Responders, which provides emergency medical equipment.

Proceeds from a Christmas raffle this year is also going to the worthy cause.

And in the past, staff have taken on a bike ride from London to Brighton for charity.

There are discounts on dinners and drinks during the week.

The pub, which is run by general manager Peter McLaughlin, also hosted its first family fun day on Sunday, and another one is scheduled for Sunday, December 8.

Children can dine for £1 with parents, and there will be a face painter and entertainer during the day.

General manager Peter Mclaughlin knows a thing or two about running a pub.

He’s been in the industry for 34 years and worked in boozers across the country.

He said things were completely different when he started out, and there’s more of an emphasis on looking after the customers now.

Peter, 58, who is originally from Coventry, said: ‘It was totally different.

‘Before you just had to stand behind the bar, now you meet and greet the customers and make sure they’ve got a seat.

‘It’s a lot more customer focused.

‘It’s definitely gone in the right direction. The feedback we’ve had in the past few days following the refurbishment has been fantastic.

Talking about his love of working at The Ferryboat Inn, Peter said: ‘It’s not a job, it’s a way of life. You meet different people all the time and every day is different.

‘This is a very special place, the position of the pub is incredible because it’s right on the beach.

‘You look out the window and see a different picture every day.

‘We have always been in one of the best positions on Hayling Island, now we’re one of the best pubs, too.

‘In the next 12 months and beyond, I can see things going up and up.’

Peter came to the area six years ago after the area manager of the pub he used to work for, The Fox and Hounds, in Kent, asked him if he fancied the move.

Peter said the south coast is close to his heart because his father used to own a boat in Christchurch. ‘I love the place,’ he said.