Entrepreneur loved Jevington local pub so much he snapped it up
Entrepreneur Phil Cameron loved his local village pub so much that he decided to buy it.
The 47-year-old took over the reins at the Eight Bells in Jevington earlier this year and the purchase marks a new direction for the former theatre director and producer who went on to found the hugely successful No 1 Traveller airport lounges in 2006.
The company now has a number of VIP facilities including No 1 Lounges at most UK airports but Phil, who has clocked up 25 years in the hospitality industry, is enjoying his new role as pub landlord.
During the recent Covid-19 lockdown, Phil, who has lived in the village with his partner since 2013, is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds restoring the 350-year-old listed building.
While the traditional English pub retains much of its original charm, it is the outside barn and garden that has seen the most change with the garden levelled, tables installed and hedges cut back to take advantage of the South Downs.
As contractors worked round the clock, Phil and his team developed a Friday night food take-away service during lockdown, which is to continue throughout the summer and can be collected or delivered to Wannock, East Dean and everywhere in between. Take-away picnics are also on the menu.
When PM Boris Johnson announced pubs could re-open on July 4, the Eight Bells welcomed locals, regulars and new customers back.
With social distancing in mind, the gardens are the settings for Saturday lunches and Sunday roasts and with tables also available inside and out at other times for lunch and dinner Thursday to Saturday.
Phil said, “There is a lot you can do with this pub that benefits the pub itself, benefits the community and lots more which is something I like.
“We want to make it more than a pub, restore its heritage and bring back its views of the Downs.
“We’re complying to the letter with Covid-related guidelines, so our seating has been spaced out, our staff will be wearing appropriate PPE, and we will ask customers to follow some simple and clear guidelines while on the property, so everyone can enjoy their experience without any concerns.”