MP Visits Newly Refurbished Maidstone Pub

Community pub The Stag in Maidstone has reopened following a joint investment of £70,000 by multi-operator Chris Dyer and the UK's leading pub company, Enterprise Inns, attracting a visit from the local MP Helen Grant. The venue, located just off the town's busy high street, has been closed since February 2016 while a full refurbishment took place to include an updated bar area, new toilets, a contemporary outdoor space and an upgraded kitchen.

Entrepreneur Chris, aged 34, also runs Enterprise sites Bar Chocolate in Maidstone and Command House in Chatham. He said: "Before I took over in March, the pub was in need of some attention and we've completely transformed it. We want The Stag to be somewhere people come regularly, enjoy great drinks and great food.

"Even though it's located in the city centre, we really want to provide a local feel where passers-by become regulars and see us as their go-to pub."

Historically, The Stag has been a wet-led pub, but since Chris took over in March he has introduced a lunch and evening menu, in addition to a full vegan menu, following customer feedback. The Stag has also become the only pub in Maidstone to serve real cask ales direct from barrels that sit behind the bar in view of the customers. It also offers a comprehensive range of craft beer that complement its new menu.

Chris said: "I was very excited to bring in the barrels for customers to see, this gives them a different kind of experience. It looks really good, and it's definitely a topic of conversation around the bar!"

Enterprise regional manager Richard Mernagh said: "Chris is a great guy, and has a fantastic business head on his shoulders. I have worked with him for six years during which time he's opened two other successful Enterprise sites in the area.

"We're very excited about the transformation, Chris has a great vision for the pub and we look forward to seeing it unfold. The successful renovation is testament to the strong relationship Enterprise has with Chris and I am sure it will continue to grow in the future."

MP Helen Grant visited the pub on Friday 15th July during an official celebration to mark its reopening. Helen said "I think people visiting Maidstone's town centre will really enjoy this superbly renovated historic pub. I think The Stag's new offering as a quality food and specialist ale house will attract a wider level of trade and garner a lot of regular local custom. The ambience is great, the food and ales are delicious and the staff are lovely. I wish the Stag every success".

Vigilance with care - 29-07-16

It reminded me of operation stack all over again; miles and miles of traffic backing up from Dover just as the school holidays commenced last week. But this time it wasn't about a French strike, it was about French security.

The Nice attack on Bastille day rendered 84 people dead and over 300 injured. As I write I pause to consider the enormity of their loss and remember the 52 dead and over 700 injured in the London 7/7 atrocity 11 years ago in 2005.

It seems not a week now passes without other heinous acts of violence taking place; the axe attack on a commuter train in Wuerzburg, the Munich mass shootings, the Ansbach bombing...

We are incredibly fortunate to have been spared further widespread slaughter in the UK, which was widely predicted after 7/7 alongside an equally expected backlash in racial tensions.

Neither threat came to pass and that in large part is testament to the success of our intelligence and security service operations. We the public have also adopted a measured change in our daily stance, remaining vigilant over suspect packages and reporting suspicious behaviour more acutely than in decades past.

But the dangerous rise in xenophobia and racism, both in Europe and the US, means we must use even more care in our future approach. Brexit has divided our country and we cannot allow some to use this as a mandate to damage our national identity.

Former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie's thoughtless column last week is a case in point; suggesting Channel 4 news should not have allowed a presenter wearing a Hijab to cover the Nice attack because the perpetrator was also a muslim. Even if no ill was intended, he should have foreseen it's potential for incitement and hatred.

Britain is world famous for fairness, justice and diversity. Long may that continue.


Helen's weekly column is published every Friday in the Kent Messenger.  The content shown here may differ slightly from the press version.

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