Eric Light has been at the helm of The Salmon Leap pub in Totton since 1994 and he’s still brimming with ideas for the much-loved local.
The newly unveiled red brick with flint facade now mirrors the gate house to the former Great Testwood House next door.
Next up is a rebrand of the car park ice cream shack launched during pandemic takeaway restrictions. Leap’s Treats will launch next weekend serving a selection of fruit crumbles topped with custard, cream or Mr Whippy ice cream to take away.
“You’ve got to diversify or die,” says Eric. “We always engage with the community and that’s what it’s all about really.
“I love the new look. I looked around at other pubs for inspiration, but got back here and realised the red brick with flint inserts I had liked elsewhere were just like our neighbours. It’s been staring me in the face all the time!”
Behind the pub, there’s a well-used petanque terrain and children’s play equipment.
The Salmon Leap is next to the River Test, renowned for its trout and salmon fishing, and takes its name from the salmon leap near Fisherman’s Cottage.
It opened in 1962 as a temporary pub which would be replaced by a hotel with land in the foreground set to become a roundabout. That never came to fruition, but the land was useful during the pandemic as market traders were invited to sell their wares to the community.
Most of the pub’s customers are locals but their ranks are often swelled by fishermen and dog walkers.
They can enjoy traditional pub food with a twist, including shepherd’s cottage pie with both lamb and beef, chilli lasagne and steaks, as well as specials like duck. Food is locally sourced, fish Fridays go down a storm and roast dinners are always fully booked.
Behind the bar there’s a good selection of beers sourced from Flack Manor in Romsey and elsewhere. A total of 20 gins are also available.
Special events include a weekly quiz, live music, dominoes, pool and darts.