New GM for bar & restaurant at historic dockyard in Kent

The unique appeal of running a contemporary bar on the end of a pier, overlooking a castle, proved an irresistible opportunity for Tristan Egginton to take on his first General Manager’s position.

The 31-year-old, who has been in the hospitality industry for a decade, has worked his way up from a part-time barman to become the General Manager of Shepherd Neame’s Pier Five in Chatham Maritime.

Tristan moves from Shepherd Neame’s The Wharf near Dartford where he was Deputy Manager, bringing with him a wealth of experience at sites across Kent as well as the other side of the world, after a year in Australia working at Spice Temple in Melbourne.

He has also been Assistant Manager at The Spitfire in Kings Hill, and worked at The Potting Shed in Langley, just before the pandemic hit.

Tristan said of Pier Five, “It is a unique pub, with its own special appeal. It has a fantastic view of Upnor Castle and you can sit and watch the boats go past from the pier.

“It is a particularly lovely place to be in the summer, with a great mix of customers,” he added, “and I really love the décor here - it is so quirky and vibrant.”

His plans include making the pub dog-friendly between noon and 5pm, and introducing acoustic live music acts outside in the afternoons during the summer.

“There are a lot of people who walk their dogs past here, so we already know it will be popular with dog owners. There is also patio seating outside, so people already sit outside with their dogs.

“I really want to have the live music outside, so on a nice day, people can sit and relax with a cold beer. It looks like we are in for a really good summer this year, so this should be another reason for people to come and enjoy what we have to offer. We want to help people make memories.”

Taking on his first General Manager’s position is an exciting prospect, and potentially takes him nearer to his ultimate goal of running his own cocktail bar one day. “It is a challenge,” he said, “It will push me and it is something to really sink my teeth into.”

Tristan has been able to learn from several experienced Shepherd Neame managers during his career, including The Spitfire’s General Manager, Chris Peach, who has been in the role 17 years, and Marc and Tracy Watson, who ran The Wharf at Dartford for more than two decades before retiring last year.

“I have worked my way up so have a very good idea of what the role entails. When I was at The Wharf, we had a really good team spirit, with a real family feel. Marc and Tracy taught me the importance of being organised and working together to create a fantastic customer experience.”

Ahead of his alfresco live music plans for the summer, Tristan has already introduced live music evenings at the site, which included DJ Jason Brooks and DJ Richie Dubz playing club classics at the weekend.

Pier Five’s popular contemporary offering includes hand-crafted beers and lagers, craft spirits and cocktails, alongside a delicious menu of gourmet burgers, flame-licked chicken and hand-stretched oven-baked pizzas.