The Jenny Lind pub on the High Street of the Old Town has changed hands. The new owner, taking over from Linda Challis, is Kieran Canavan, a laid-back Irishman from South London who knows the Hastings area from 15 years of holiday experience in a caravan at Camber Sands. He says he has spent two decades running pubs and clubs in London, most colourfully Canavan’s Pool Club in Peckham Rye, a pool bar and nightclub which he still owns, but was looking for over two years to find the right place for “semi-retirement” (his phrase). After meeting locals and staff, and negotiating for several months to put together the right business plan for bank funding, he decided this is it.

PICTURE: Dave Young

The plus points of the Jenny Lind are legion: the ground floor holds 200 people (at a familiar squeeze), there’s a further function room on the first floor and six en suite hotel rooms (“very comfortable – I’ve stayed there”, says Mr Canavan) plus a two-tiered back garden. Under the ownership of Keith and Linda Challis, the pub became a hub for local live music and real ale, with ten different beers on hand-pull at any one time; it has championed support for the town’s annual round of community events – Fat Tuesday, Jack-in-the-Green, the Old Town Carnival, etc. The new owner confirms that he has every intention of maintaining this profile. 

Personally he admits to a taste for heavy rock (Meatloaf is mentioned in conversation) but he is also keen on the Thursday sea-shanty evenings. In any event long-serving manager Simon Kennedy will remain in charge of musical bookings. Business as usual, then. 

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