Long-serving licensee calls time on career

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Bidding goodbye: Karen Hazell retires after 28 years with Shepherd Neame
Bidding goodbye: Karen Hazell retires after 28 years with Shepherd Neame

Related tags Shepherd neame Public house Kent

A Shepherd Neame licensee is calling time on her career behind the bar after 28 years with the Kent-based independent brewer.

Karen Hazell, 63, has retired from running the Rose Inn in Mortimer Street, Herne Bay this week, two months after receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Shepherd Neame Pub Awards 2022.  

The pub will be taken over by Georgina Paxton, who also runs another Shepherd Neame pub in Herne Bay, the Hampton Inn. 

Hazell began her career running her first pub in Plumstead aged 25, where she would run four disco nights a week. From there she moved to a pub and B&B in Charlton Church Lane, a stone’s throw from Charlton FC’s ground, the Valley, where many drinkers were football fans. 

She then moved to the Rose Inn in Herne Bay with her then partner Dave in 1994, where they were the first Shepherd Neame tenants, before moving to the Clothworkers Arms in Sutton Valence.  

Return to Herne Bay

In 2003, a few years after Dave passed away, she and new partner Barry Harris made the move back to Herne Bay, returning to the Rose Inn. 

Hazell said: “When we first took on the Rose Inn in 1994, it was under an old fisherman’s licence, which meant it could open at 9am. That’s how long ago it was!” 

When she returned all those years later, she said the site needed complete redecoration as it was very dark, with brown ceilings and a black floor. 

The pub has always been wet-led, according to Hazell, who said there were many regular guests. 

“It’s the regulars that keep you going – especially in the winter. We get a lot of tourists in the summer,” she added.

Looking forward to the future 

She said Shepherd Neame had been “great” to work with and were “absolutely outstanding” through the pandemic. 

Hazell has not been afraid to stand up to rowdy customers. “You’ve got to set standards and keep to them,” she said, but added it was important to have a laugh too. 

She continued: “When you think back over your life you realise how much everything revolves around the pub. I have so many stories from running pubs over the years I keep saying ‘I could write a book!’” 

The couple, who have been together 15 years and have two grandchildren, have bought a bungalow and plan to take more holidays in retirement.  

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