AMBITIOUS plans to breathe new life into a Hampshire village pub are taking shape.

Adam and Kate Shanley have not let Covid restrictions hinder progress refurbishing The Northrbook Arms in East Stratton near Michedever since they picked up the keys last year.

A new outdoor canopy has hosted a number of socially distanced stand-up comedy nights showcasing the likes of Winchester's own Paul McCaffrey, Sean Walsh, Lloyd Griffith and Sally-Anne Hayward.

Further comedy nights are planned as well as socially-distanced lunch with Santa events and ambitious plans for a Covid compliant New Year's Eve party.

An official gin has also taken up residence. Southampton based HMS Spirits Company bring their range of premium gins including Mary Rose, Elizabeth and Dreadnought to the pub.

Passionate about gin and routed in a naval family background, founder Ben Maguire has taken his award-winning start up distillery around the world and now back home.

“Anyone that has met Ben knows just how incredibly passionate he is about HMS Spirits, the quality of the product but also the way people connect with it and the industry needs that enthusiasm and drive now more than ever," Adam Shanley said. “We’re looking to create experiences at the pub and ensure we support local providers giving them a platform to engage, entice and entertain our customers."

The next plan is for a website celebrating the past, present and future of the village.

And, despite a tricky 2020, huge progress has been made on redevelopment of the site with the first four bed self-catering cottage set to be ready by February.

Adam added: "Without a doubt it is a tough market at the moment with no real signs of certainty or security. Having said that, we remain optimistic for the future and would like to thank all of our customers, visitors and communities for their overwhelming support. Without them we are nothing."

Kate and Adam purchased the pub in 2019 from Lord Northbrook.

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