​​​​​​The Anchor

Wingham, Kent

Licensees Kevin and Michelle Abbott have had a remarkable two years at the Anchor by any standards, but it's even more impressive when you consider it is their first pub venture.

Thanks to their relentless enthusiasm, some smart investment, and their customer service backgrounds, turnover quadrupled in year one and saw another 35% increase in the past year. It's no wonder they picked up Best Newcomer at last year's Great British Pub Awards.

This year has seen the pub further develop its reputation as a key live music venue, with a new sound system attracting higher-profile acts and Kevin's impressive contact book now bulging at the seams.

Trading areas have been given a fresh lick of paint, the extensive beer garden has been pruned and the upstairs function room has been refurbished.

Both judges were most impressed with the way the couple refuses to rest on their laurels and consistently conjure up new ideas to retain and grow custom.

The Abbots recently decided to delay their Sunday Afternoon Session by one hour to enable the pub to offer an additional sitting for lunch. It has increased Sunday covers by 35%.

As well as regular free open mic nights in the bar and ticketed events in the function room, which are almost always sold out in advance, the Anchor now hosts two three-day music festivals every year.

The Abbots are also launching a bar in Spain and are looking to establish a pop-up bar and stage area at local events.

But it's not just the music on offer – the pub has a packed schedule of events, hosting quizzes, charity nights and comedy, and plans to increase this offering again in the upcoming year.

​(Source: The Great British Pub Awards 2014 - The Morning Advertiser)​