A LENGTHY dry spell has finished in a Rother Valley community as their pub has reopened after a four-year closure.
There were plenty of beers and cheers in Rogate as villagers came out in force to celebrate the return of The White Horse.
New owner and landlord Alex Whyte was overwhelmed with the turnout when the former shipbroker reopened the pub on September 22.
He said: “We had a gentle start for lunch and then from about 5.30pm we had about 200 people in for drinks and 50 for food.
“The village has been incredible from the off.
“I was a complete outsider and they have been supportive from the get-go, giving me numbers for the guy who can deliver me logs and another for a carpenter and another for a tiler.”
Nerves were jangling ahead of its reopening as there was a hygiene inspection three hours before launch. Thankfully, the inspector gave the pub a high five with early visitors showing their approval.
Alex Watton, a 71-year-old who lives opposite the pub said he was “delighted” to see The White Horse reopen while his partner, Rachel Goodchild, said: “This is our new living room.”
The list of people who need thanking is long but Debs Burles and Patrick Burfield were among the many Rogate villagers who helped get things off the ground.
Mr Whyte had no intention of buying a pub earlier this year but he came across the White Horse while looking for accommodation to recommend to his wedding guests.
He spotted a gap in the market for affordable places to stay in the area and decided to buy it.
The publican spent six months working at other pubs while the purchase was going through before throwing himself into reviving The White Horse’s fortunes. He stripped the interior down to its stone and wooden floors and highlighted the pub’s stunning 400-year-old beams.
With the launch out of the way the next target is to get an AA rosette but chef, Andrew Hill, seems confident.
“The idea is to have it to rosette standard and get one or maybe two rosettes,” said the 29-year-old from Suffolk.
The pub will open three guest rooms within the coming weeks.