The Red Lion Hotel, Cosham

WELCOME Regular Peter Wright, 50, with his children Isabel, three, and Zak, eight.  Picture: Sarah Standing (120128-2459)
WELCOME Regular Peter Wright, 50, with his children Isabel, three, and Zak, eight. Picture: Sarah Standing (120128-2459)
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Ian Durrant likes to make sure his customers are getting value for money when they stay at The Red Lion Hotel.

If punters decide to kip at his Cosham pub over a weekend they get a free full English breakfast or a selection of cereal, toast and coffee on the house.

Ian, 42, who manages the pub on behalf of The Orchid Group, introduced his hearty gesture to ravenous punters on a Saturday and Sunday morning each week four weeks ago.

Since then he has seen sales go through the roof at the London Road pub, which holds 16 guest bedrooms.

‘Weekends are when we pull in the trade anyway,’ he said.

‘But this new scheme has been really successful. We only charge £41.25 a room per night so people get a lot for their money.

‘Sales have been really encouraging.

‘I thought about introducing it because you’ve got to keep ahead of the game in the industry.

‘You have to listen to your customers and think about that little extra which will pull in the trade. It’s something different.’

The pub has one ale pump and Directors, Doom Bar and Old Speckled Hen are brews on regular rotation.

Ian, who took over the Victorian pub early last year, said: ‘We get a fair number of ale drinkers in here.

‘That’s why I think its important to have a variety. Everyone has different and acquired tastes.

‘We normally go through 70 pints of ale every few days.

‘So that’s great for business.’

The pub is also looking to help out worthy causes this year.

It plans to host a football-themed blackout cards night in the near future towards The Rowans Hospice and Queen Alexandra Hospital’s special care baby unit, in Cosham.

‘I want us to do a lot more charity,’ Ian said.

‘The locals feel strongly about local causes. It would be great to get casino and horse race evenings going.’

Sarah Ralph, 43, of Halstead Road, Wymering, has been working at the pub for 14 years.

Mrs Ralph, who is a bar supervisor, said: ‘I really like it here. A lot of the locals are very friendly, the food is fantastic and we pull in a lot of trade from people who come to watch the football or cricket that we air on Monday evenings. I’m really enjoying my time here. There’s no trouble and the pub is very family-friendly. We try to make kids very welcome.

‘I wouldn’t work in any other pub now. It wouldn’t seem right. I feel at home here.’