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NAPLES — Derek Bennett and his sister-in-law Teresa Bennett have a keen understanding of what the English Pub means to their customers. The pub has become a fixture in the lives of their patrons, who say they’ll follow the original English Pub anywhere it goes.
“This is our hangout, and I’ve been coming here for more than 20 years since 1988. It’s a proper English pub and a home away from home for us,” said Florida Tropical Pool owner Peter Hull, who is originally from Manchester, England.
On the original English Pub’s website, patrons are invited to join them Saturday to “bid cheerio to Linwood Avenue” and make their way to the new home on the East Trail. The English Pub’s new location is in the Village Falls complex in East Naples at 50 47 U.S . 41 E., south of Rattlesnake Hammock Road. The original location will close Saturday and re-open on the East Trail on Nov. 10.
While the party is nowhere near over at the current location, regulars plan to savor every moment until the Linwood Avenue location shuts its doors, and the English Pub hosts a grand re-opening celebration at the new location.
Jimmy Growler, English Pub regular and one of the owners of Foden Construction in Naples, has worked on the new location and said he wanted to help with the project to ensure the new pub is as authentic as it can possibly be.
“Me and Derek have been working together for the last 10 years, and I think the new place will be an improvement because the bar and the kitchen will be about twice the size, plus there is a beautiful outside patio where we will be able to watch our soccer game,” said Growler. “We’re all excited for the chance to root for the soccer team we all support in the new pub, and we have 30 members every single game twice a week where we meet to watch it.”
Growler is talking about the Glasgow Rangers supporters club. They show up every Saturday for the games and, depending on if they win, they’ve been known to stay all day and night until closing after a good win.
That’s what the English Pub has been about all these years and what continues to draw regulars and new patrons back week after week, day after day, the sense of community which they’ve come to cherish.
“The power went off last Friday night from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. and nobody left. Everyone stayed and sang,” Growler said.
That sense of community is what owners Derek and Teresa Bennett said will bind the customers to the English Pub in its new location.
“This move is for all of our customers, and especially for the regulars because it is a better facility for our guests who have supported us through thick and thin, when we’ve had issues with the building and we are so grateful to h ave such a good bu nc h of diehard regulars,” said Bennett.
“The pub is not about the building; it’s about the people; people like my head bartender Ricky Jackson who started off bussing tables, became a waiter, then a barback, then a bartender and now is our head bartender.”
Bennett said everyone enjoyed the current location, but they lost the lease and declined an option to stay until March.
“You never think when you sign a lease 15 years ago that it will ever expire, and we wouldn’t sign a deal to stay until March to only leave then anyway and go somewhere else,” he said.
Bennett recognizes the potential of a new place and says when restaurants are established for many years, they need to be reinvented.
“It’s time to reinvent and reintroduce the original English Pub back into the community,” he said. “I’ll get all of the collectibles and bric-a-brac into the new facility which has nice loos (bathrooms), and people will really enjoy the beautiful outside beer garden and a private dining room just like the Churchill Room in the current pub.”
Bennett also is excited to be a go-to place for sporting events and authentic English fare on the East Trail.
“Most of our guests live on the east side, and it’s nice to be able to offer an alternative with our bangers and mash, cottage pie, and Indian influences which are common in England like our Tandori chicken naan sandwich and Sweeney Todd’s pies,” Bennett said.
The English Pub also is known for its kurrito, a savory 12-inch flatbread stuffed with curried ground beef and served with a side of mango chutney and raita, which is comprised of cucumber and sour cream. And Bennett said 50 percent of their guests come in for the English Pub’s fish and chips.
“Aside from traditional, authentic British food, the success of the pub is the diversity. We’ve got the Red Hat Ladies at lunch to the late night younger crowd that doesn’t even know we have a kitchen,” he said. “But with all of our advertising and marketing, people still ask, ‘Where are you?’, so now we’ll have a huge sign by which 30,000 cars a day pass by, along with the same great food, same chef and same great style.”
Bennett said the English Pub’s two dart teams are excited about moving, along with various supper clubs and other groups who meet there on a regular basis. He already has a group of 50 people reser ved to watch an upcoming game at the new location.
“For the royal wedding, we had 150 people drinking mimosa and pints, and 50 percent of our guests were dressed up in top hats and tails, ladies dressed to the nines,” he said.
For the last function at the old location on Saturday, Bennett and his customers will enjoy a formal dinner and party to enjoy the last night. The evening will also mark the Annual Orange Lodge Dinner Dance hosted by Heirs of Cromwell, LOL 1599. Attendees can expect cocktails at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. for $30 per person.
“When it’s all done, we’ll have a great sing-song out there to give the old girl a good sending off,” said Growler with a chuckle.
For more information on The English Pub, its events and new location, call 239-775-3727 or go to www.naplesenglishpub.com.