Son gets set to takeover family pub business with beer garden opening on April 12

An Alnmouth pub is set to reopen with familiar faces at the helm.
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The Red Lion Inn will reopen its outdoor space to customers on Monday, April 12 in line with the Government’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

But it will be Ben McHugh and his partner Georgie Gill who will be front of house as they take over the reins from Ben’s mum and dad, Mac and Jane.

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Ben said: “They’ve done it for 17 years and have been slowly taking a step back over the past five years or so.

Georgie Gill and Ben McHugh at The Red Lion, Alnmouth.Georgie Gill and Ben McHugh at The Red Lion, Alnmouth.
Georgie Gill and Ben McHugh at The Red Lion, Alnmouth.

"The enforced break due to Covid finally gave them a chance to stop running around at 100mph and take stock and they decided the time was right.”

Ben and Georgie have been heavily involved behind the scenes for several years but they are thrilled at the prospect of taking over.

“It’s very exciting,” said Georgie. “It’s a new chapter and this period has given us time to put our thoughts together on how we want the pub to be going forward.”

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They are expecting a busy summer with large numbers of staycationing visitors and day trippers heading to Alnmouth

"I think Alnmouth is going to be inundated,” said Ben. “The train station nearby makes us popular with day trippers.”

Fortunately, they have a large outdoor beer garden in which to accommodate customers and a marquee to provide an element of shelter when the weather dictates.

"It lends itself well to the restrictions we’ll be under from April 12,” admitted Ben.

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With hotels and B&Bs unable to reopen until May 17 at the earliest, it also provides the couple with a relatively gentle introduction.

Ben said: “We’re going to try to hit the ground running but it is also nice in a way that for the first few weeks there won’t be quite the numbers we’re expecting later in the summer.”

They have decided to reopen on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

"It’s a simpler way of operating for us,” said Ben. “There was a steady turnover of people in the beer garden last summer so we think it will be simpler to go down the first come first served route rather than the headache of a booking system.”

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