ONCE a bolthole for smugglers, The Fisherman’s Haunt on the banks of the River Avon in Christchurch remains a haven for locals and visitors.

And it is the atmosphere, the food, the building and the regulars which are just some of the reasons top chef Kenny Dryden loves his pub.
And just some of the reasons why you voted The Fisherman’s Haunt as our Pub of the Week.

Bournemouth Echo:
“I just love the pub and the building,” said Kenny, who was head chef at the popular pub for eight years before becoming the manager last year.

Bournemouth Echo:
“The atmosphere of The Fisherman’s Haunt is known for a home from home experience. We are warm and friendly and our service is engaging, which is why we have a secured a long and loyal following and why visitors return.

“I love the building, it is steeped in history and has a lovely atmosphere. The people are great, the staff and our regular customers. ”

Bournemouth Echo:
The Fisherman’s Haunt was originally built as a private home in 1673. 

When it became a pub, it was called The Plaish House, however the Avon Weir across the road also earned the pub the nickname Splash House. 

The River Avon offers fabulous fishing – although as one of the major ports in England, it was also a lucrative spot for smugglers. 

The Plaish teemed with fishermen, and still does, in their welly boots and waterproofs, discussing the weather and the day’s fishing. 

Kenny, who has run the pub for just over a year, was forced to shutter The Fisherman’s Haunt in March  because of the Covid pandemic and all the staff were placed on furlough.

Bournemouth Echo:

However, now open the pub has in place a range of safety measures both inside and outside, to adhere to current guidelines.

A one-way system is in place, entering through the front and leaving through the back, hand sanitising stations at various points and the team are operating table service only. 

And since reopening hearty, homely food and good cheer has prompted a rise in returning customers.

“We have tweaked the menu but we serve homely food prepared from the finest seasonal ingredients,” said Kenny.

“Menus here change with the season, but there’s always a firm focus on fish dishes - alongside country classics, chef’s signature dishes and a range of homemade desserts.

The pub is also a hotel, with 13 beautiful bedroom -, ideal for a romantic weekend, family holiday or corporate getaway in the Dorset countryside. 

The pub is taking part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme until August 31.

So well done Fisherman’s Haunt, we will be calling in for a pint pretty soon!

Pub of the Week is published in the Bournemouth Echo every Friday both online and in print. 

To nominate your pub, please answer our simple Q&A here