Manager switches pubs as tenanted Shep site becomes managed

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

New GM: Hannah McDonough, 27, has taken on the Evenhill after tenant Fred Perry exits
New GM: Hannah McDonough, 27, has taken on the Evenhill after tenant Fred Perry exits

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Hannah McDonough has moved from a busy seaside pub to one in the countryside after Shepherd Neame switched a tenanted site to a managed house.

The Kent brewer and pub operator has given 27-year-old McDonough the keys to the Evenhill in Littlebourne, near Canterbury, for her first site as a general manager.

Ramsgate-born McDonough began working part time in hospitality when studying criminal justice at university in Manchester and later returned to Kent, joining Shepherd Neame’s Royal Albion Hotel as assistant manager in 2019. She also served as acting general manager last year.

Natural move

On her first GM role, she said: “It feels natural for me but it is also a ‘pinch me’ moment. There is a lot of pressure, of course, but I was acting general manager at the Royal Albion Hotel in Broadstairs from July to October, which included Broadstairs Folk Week, so if you can get through that, you can get through anything.”

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She takes on the popular village pub from former licensee Fred Perry, who ran it for almost 15 years before retiring last month.

Perry said: “I hit 60 and thought ‘you know what, I am in a position to take things really slowly’. I’m just having a break. I’ve been working in pubs for the past 30 years so it’s nice to take a step back.

“I thought of the staff and customers as friends rather than employees and customers. It really is a family business with everyone, including the directors, always willing to help out and support you.”

Keen for reopening

Regulars at the pub in Littlebourne, which also has 16 rooms available as accommodation, were so keen for it to reopen following the changeover to a managed house, they even helped move the furniture.

McDonough said: “They are a great bunch. It is such a unique rural setting, everyone knows your name and you know their name. There are a lot of differences between the Royal Albion Hotel and The Evenhill, and it is a change of pace for me.

The Evenhill was originally built as cottages in the 16th century and it now has open fires in the Victorian bar, a split-level restaurant and an outside area is soon set to be refurbished.

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