With a bold vision and lot of hard work, young hospitality entrepreneurs Liam White and Simon Cant have taken less than four years to build their own mini-chain of Island pubs.

The pair of trained chefs, both of whom have worked in hospitality since leaving school at 15, took their first step with the Castle Inn in Newport.

“We’d worked in the same places over the years and it was a running joke between us that one day we’d have our own pub” says Liam.  “When the Castle came up, it was a lot of work but we decided to go for it”.

With Liam heading up the kitchen, they transformed the place with a new pub food menu,  an attractive garden to attract families, and regular promotions.  “We’re not trying to be a restaurant” says Liam, “our motto is just proper, good quality pub food”.

People took notice, and it wasn’t long before the duo was being offered other pubs to take on – which got them thinking about expansion.

They agreed to take on the Vine in St Helens in late 2020, an olde-worlde food-led venue that suited their emerging brand.

Then earlier this year they took on The Crown at Shorwell – which holds a special place in their hearts, as they worked there together a few years ago.

Now with a total team of 40 staff across all their venues, their ethos is family-orientated – for both customers and staff.  Liam’s fiancee Kristine runs The Crown while Simon’s wife Louise manages the Castle, mother-in-law Janette takes care of staffing and pub décor, and Simon’s father Peter handles front of house and maintenance.  

As well as their three core pubs, the team is also temporarily running the New Inn, Shalfleet and Fleming Arms, Binstead.

Liam – currently doing 60-70 hours a week as head chef at The Crown until it’s well-established – says the reward comes from happy customers, many of whom have been posting glowing reviews online.

But he isn’t ruling out taking on more pubs:  “We’re always looking for the next business opportunity” he says.