The Gun Inn in Keyhaven ready to fire after lockdown renovation
A LANDMARK Keyhaven pub is set to reopen under new management following a major renovation.
With a focus on seasonal and local produce, the team at the Gun Inn will begin welcoming customers into the pub’s large garden on Monday with much of the menu prepared in an outside kitchen featuring a three-metre grill.
The Grade II listed pub was acquired in late 2020 by local resident Chris Cecil-Wright, who runs an established superyacht brokerage based in London.
It will be managed by business partners Peter Troup and Jim Gedge, who also run the Bosun’s Chair in Lymington and The Grapes in Southampton.
Peter said: “Originally, the plan was to undertake some minor refurbishment work and tidying up before we reopened in December.
“But with the second and third national lockdowns we had the opportunity to spend slightly more time doing the work.”
Using a team of local carpenters, electricians and plumbers, the pub has been extensively refurbished with period wood-panelling and flooring, a new bar area, a full rewire and the installation of modern beer dispensing equipment.
Peter said: “Although the scale of the project has been far larger than we originally anticipated, the idea has always been that when people walk in they won’t notice a huge change.
“It was important to us that we remain very much a centre of the community as a village pub.”
Initially the garden area will feature a large covered tent which can accommodate up to 60 people with a further 60 seats available outside.
The kitchen team will be led by head chef Mark Young, who was formerly at the helm of the Bell Inn at Bramshaw.
Mark said: “I already have good relationships with lots of local producers and I hope to build lots more.
“The menu will be regularly evolved to feature the freshest local food, and almost everything on the menu will be cooked on the outside grill.
“We will be catering for a broad cross-section of customers and we want to make sure no one is alienated, so our menu will be accessible to walkers and cyclists who just want a quick bite to eat and those who want spend a bit more for a substantial meal.”
Sample dishes include Needles mackerel, whole Hursley lamb shoulder, Lymington crab and New Forest wild mushrooms.
In the longer term a more significant refurbishment project is planned to create a larger indoor dinner area to the rear of the pub.
Peter said: “We are anxious to make sure everyone is happy with how we develop the pub in the long term so we have already engaged a conservation consultant and we will be working with local people to come up with a sympathetic design which preserves the character and ethos of the pub and reflects the local area.”
It is anticipated that when full up and running the pub will also employ 10-15 local staff. To find out more visit www.theguninn.co.uk