Lovedean pub 'still thriving' with Covid lockdown teaching owner a few survival tricks

A COUNTRY pub and restaurant is ‘still thriving’ after surviving two world wars and a pandemic.

Promoted by Federation of Small Businesses
Monday, 18th October 2021, 5:13 pm

The Bird in Hand pub in Lovedean Lane, Lovedean, has played a huge part in the community since the 1800s, with the building previously occupying a bakery and greengrocers.

Offering high quality food that is prepared and cooked on the premises, the pub has survived two world wars and the Covid-19 crisis.

Sharon Cole, 53, has been the pub’s owner for the last 12 and a half years and said the pandemic has been a big learning curve.

She said: ‘It’s been fascinating to see to be honest but also very difficult to budget, everything is really new and different and it’s been really strange.’

Sharon thanks the pub’s survival to the ‘fantastic’ government support that she took advantage of, and said the lockdowns gave her a chance to get some building and aesthetic works done in the pub.

Over the last lockdown the pub opened on weekends for takeaways and deliveries, and Sharon said the biggest thing she learned was how successful takeaway roast dinners could be.

She said: ‘Who would ever realise that you could have a takeaway roast dinner and that it could be edible and actually really delicious, but now it’s become something quite normal.’

The team at the Bird In Hand - Simon Milne (32), Sharon Cole (53 - owner), Brandon White (19) and Beth Allen (29). Picture: Mike Cooter (151021)

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The pub also adapted to accommodate outside service, with a marquee and outdoor heaters that are still in use now as well as the other social distancing measures, which Sharon plans to continue with.

She said: ‘The world has changed very much because of the pandemic and we’re living with it now, there’s no cut off point when we’ll get back to normal I don’t think, it’ll be very gradual.’

‘People like the table service so we’re sticking to that as much as possible, we’ve taken quite a bit of it on board and we’re sticking to it. We won’t overfill the pub like we could before, we wouldn’t dream of it.’

Looking ahead to the future, Sharon said she is continuing to develop the pub and its brand and is investing in staff training. She is looking forward to Christmas, with the Christmas party menu out now, and has various events planned for the end of the year which she hopes will go ahead.

To find out more about the pub’s events, opening times and menu, visit lovedeanbirdinhand.co.uk or find The Bird in Hand on Facebook.

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