Marie and Steve Harris have only been running the Greene King site for the past three years and were new to the trade when they took it on just before the Covid pandemic hit.
Despite those challenges, they used the lockdowns to transform what had previously been a run-down site and created a business that in three short years, has already started to garner serious awards, with the pinnacle so far, being named Greene King Pub of the Year at the Great British Pub Awards in Manchester recently.
The couple have quickly established themselves at the heart of the community in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, providing facilities and events for the area’s organisations and charities, as well as campaigning and raising considerable amounts of money, including for the local Christmas lights fund.
An innovative approach to running a pub has seen the couple not only embrace dogs at the site, but even provide washing facilities in the garden for muddy pooches, and offering a doggy-focused Sunday roast, which has proven a hit as well.
An impressive outdoor aviary is also a prominent feature in the pubs extensive garden space, adding entertainment and colour for visitors both young and old.
Judges were also impressed by the couple’s focus on the team, with great support and training available for all team members.
That has enabled them to build a strong, focused and dedicated team which has been in place since the pub launched.
Steve and Maria also bring their infectious personality to the operation, particularly when it comes to social media, with the pair regularly starring in videos for TikTok and Facebook – a move that has resonated extremely well with the customers.
Full list of 2023 GBPA winners:
Best Pub Garden – Gaggle of Geese, Buckland Newton, Dorset
Best Sustainable Pub – Stroud Brewery Taproom, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Best Pub Chef – Charlotte Vincent, Candlelight Inn, Chard, Somerset
Best Young Pub Chef – Karl Quirante, the Cricketers, Ormskirk, Lancashire
Greene King Pub of the Year – the Stag, Lyndhurst, Hampshire
Punch Pub of the Year – the Plough, Prestbury, Gloucestershire