Our Story

Who are We?

We are a small family consisting of Sophie & Jon and our two young children Olivia, 10 and Louis, 5.

It was never our intention to buy a pub. Sophie was co-managing a Michelin Star Restaurant and Jon was training chefs and managers across the South Coast. Our baby girl was a year old and our savings nil but a family member in distress (Jon's Father) changed all of that. We borrowed just enough money to get Jon's father housed but not enough to really start fixing the business!

Early in 2014 we posted a post to Facebook that implied we were closing down (we weren't, just for a few days to refurbish our bathrooms!)

The post went a little viral with hundres of thousnads of views and hundred of shares. Many people have suggested we put it on our website for people to know and understand a little more about us and our little pub....

Here is what we wrote back then:

We are closing..

....We took over this little pub a few years ago. It was owned by a family member close to death and was on it's knees. It was losing thousands of pounds a month, it was tired and ageing, everything leaked and everything creaked. We were aged just 25 but the pub was aged nearer to 225! We had no money, just bright ideas and a good work ethic instilled in us and inspired by all the great people we've worked for in our careers. We wanted to save a life first and pub a little pub with a heart second.

We saved the life, our primary goal, by buying the pub. We still wanted to try to breathe a little life into an old, tired and expensive building. As a leasehold property the building owners of course take their thousands in rent every month, yet as the lease dictates, they're obliged to fix nothing. We have tried to fix things, bit by bit, with a little help from our friends old and new. We've got busier, we've worked harder, we turned more lights on, we warmed the place up, but 300% energy increases meant we still couldn't save up. Utility companies gobble up their thousands EVERY month, we see just light bulbs and warm water in return.

Our little baby girl was just 13 months when we arrived, now she's five and at school. She is joined by her little brother at the time of writing just 11 months. Mummy, Daddy and all their friends work long hours to support them and the little pub. Some of our friends over the years weren't so friendly after all, some of our friends weren't so trust worthy after all, some of our friends weren't so lucky, but all of of those friends have put in a proverbial building block that enabled the pub to build and grow organically. For this our family will always be grateful.

We've been accepted by the village. We've become a part of the community. We've cooked dinners for the school children, we've cooked dinners for the pensioners, we've cooked dinners for our locals and we've cooked dinners for the rich and famous. We've helped people get married and we've helped people mourn, we've helped people celebrate, we've donated prizes and cooked in peoples homes, we've delivered meals to the elderly and infirm, we've sheltered the lost and the weary. We've even helped a few people hide!

In return our locals have helped us pay tax bills from their own pockets, donated us furniture, bought our baby nappies, helped us buy fridges and glass washers, most of them have been there when we needed a shoulder a to cry on, we've always offered our shoulders in return.

Through it all we've tried to do the best we could afford, we built a wine stock of hundreds of bottles where once there were just a few ros├ęs. We've sold over 700 different beers where once just a a one lowly IPA graced the hand pumps. We've helped sell fresh bread and eggs, we've sold champion ciders and won awards, we've stayed open late and we've opened early when asked with just one goal, that one day we might all get somewhere and have something we can all as a community be proud of.

That day is today, we are proud of what everyone has helped our family become and it is with that, that THIS SUNDAY we must close our doors at 4PM.

The break will probably do our family good, we've never closed for more than two days in the last four years. We ask that you support Emberton Cricket Pavilion in our absence......


....With new shiny heated bathrooms, plentiful pretty picnic benches, locals discount cards! Our A la carte, Garden & Bar Menus in full flow, a choice of 30 continental & craft beers in bottles, four draught ales, three real draught ciders, five imported & craft lagers & wheat beers, nearly 40 wines by the glass, a dozen different gins, five artisan vodkas, a half a dozen single malt whiskeys including local gin, local single malt, local mead, local apple brandy, local apple juice and most of all......

... a smile on our faces and a warm welcome.

Cheers and thank you to everyone who has been no matter how often, we appreciate it.


Jon, Sophie, Olivia & Louis,

The Bell & Bear and all who sail in her.