Public House of the Month
NR GATWICK, Surrey
A famous pub-restaurant the Black Horse is situated on the edge of rolling countryside close to Crawley, Gatwick and the M23. With a large car park, terraced garden and playground the Black Horse is perfect for lunch or dinner.
REIGATE ROAD HOOKWOOD NR GATWICK Surrey, NR GATWICK RH6 0HU
Tel: 01293 773 611
- Free Wifi
- Car Park
- Regular Entertainment
- Children's Play Area
Tell me about how you started in this industry?
It was really just by chance. I had taken a part time job on Sundays in my local pub in Guildford, Surrey, the days when pubs used to shut between 3pm and 7pm. I had no intention of making a career of it but I soon came to love the atmosphere. There was amazing team spirit, great banter but most of all the fact that every day was different. I loved the challenge and so I stayed.
How is The Black Horse, Hookwood part of its local community?
On many different levels. It goes without saying we support local businesses but what sometimes goes unnoticed is that we give back to our individual guests too. We have a loyal group of guests for whom the pub is a core part of the community. A good example is a lovely man who seems so central to The Black Horse now. He & his wife used to visit on a regular basis with their Irish Wolfhound Sky, after his wife’s tragic passing the pub became a place of solace for him. He in turn gives back to the community by taking time to visit dying patients at the hospice and at the end of the day he comes to us for some well deserved relaxation.
What are your pubs best bits?
As clichéd as this may sound I genuinely think it’s the guests. The team are fantastic and all their individual characters and abilities make the place what it is. They give energy and enthusiasm that the guests definitely pick up on. We have a small play area outside at the back of the garden and its filled with children’s laughter all the time.
You must have a lot of funny stories about being a publican, what’s your funniest pub story?
Obviously our guest’s experience is our number one priority and so we do whatever we can to please them. Sometimes though this can prove to be a fairly big challenge. A guest recently called me over to her table one lunch time and said “I am aware I requested this actual table when I booked as it’s my favourite table in your restaurant however today it appears to be terribly noisy by this road …. Do you think you could please do something about the traffic” The A217 is a major road that takes you onto the M25 motorway, so it always is very busy, I did consider sending one of the team outside to attempt to direct the traffic to another route or thought about loaning the guest my 11 year old daughters pink fluffy ear muffs but opted to find the guest another table, in a quieter area of the pub, near the roaring fire with the candles lit. It seemed to please my guest as her Son and his wife returned on her recommendation the following week.
If I was to go to the bar now and buy you a Badger beer which one would I get you?
I would always opt for the Seasonal Ale we have on offer because it works with the time of year and the food crave at that time, also I like to try new things.
What’s good to see and experience in your area after a visit to the pub?
We are lucky to be in leafy Sussex so there are some amazing national trust gardens to visit. The real benefit for us is that we are so close to Gatwick so many of our guests are tourists and they love the fact they can be with us drinking a pint of Traditional Badger Ale then can be in London within 35minutes and the Seaside even closer!
What is your favourite time of year at your pub?
Without question, it is Christmas. I am a massive child when it comes to Christmas so I love the pub when its filled with decorations, the fires are roaring, the smell of the mulled wine scented candles burning and the joy on everyone’s faces. The pub really is all about family at Christmas and suddenly every meal served is a celebration.
If you could recommend a perfect combination of Badger Ale and meal for your visitors what would you recommend?
Well in all honesty I love my food so would be quite greedy and go for three courses. I love traditional English grub so my choices would be:
Tanglefoot Fondue washed down with a pint of Tanglefoot
Chargrilled Gammon Steak with Eggs & Pineapple with a pint of First Call
Traditional Eton Mess with …… with maybe a half pint of Seasonal Ale
How does your pub sum up the Hall & Woodhouse values?
I think that the first value that is clearly visible in our pub is Kindness, nothing is too much for myself or my team and that can be seen in how they accommodate the youngest and the oldest guests. Dedication is evident in how everyone goes that extra mile. We all have our own lives and inevitability things go wrong but the team always support each other and are quick to take on shifts when needed. It is a real family atmosphere. I think all of us here have the desire to be the best and that joint ambition means we all pull together to give the very best guest experience.
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