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A pub landlord from Teesside has taken on his third pub working in partnership with independent pub company Punch Pubs & Co.

Michael Crane, who has run the popular Fox Inn in Guisborough since 2014, is turning his hand to the Otter & Fish in Durham with the support of his partner Jai Bennison.

With more than a decade of working in the hospitality industry firmly under his belt, this is Michael’s third time running a pub after falling into the industry aged 21.

From travelling DJ to pub-landlord, Michael worked various roles before settling into the Fox Inn. He said: “I like to talk to different people, and I love that each day in this industry is so different. I never anticipated being where I am now, but I feel like everything fell into place all for the right reason.

“I jumped at the opportunity of taking on the Otter & Fish. It is a fantastic pub and it’s not very often that ones like this become available.

“The pub was in a wonderful condition so there wasn’t much that needed doing to it. It has a great reputation already and we just want to build on that.”

As part of the £50,000 refurbishment that he has planned for the Otter & Fish, the most noticeable changes will take place upstairs as Michael plans to create three new bedrooms. Taking inspiration from some of the fantastic things they’ve seen across the industry, the rooms will have an opulent and eccentric style.

The much-loved eatery already has a stellar reputation, but Michael and Jai are looking to enhance this by expanding the pubs current food menu creating a new steakhouse concept, which Michael feels the local area is missing.

Elsewhere in the pub, guests will be able to unwind in the sunshine and enjoy a cocktail or two in the garden as plans to section it off with a modern cocktail bar will soon be underway.

With only three lagers available currently, Michael promises to enhance the Otter & Fish’s existing drinks range by introducing eight draught products to its bar. These will be available to both guests dining in as well as those stopping by for their favourite tipple.

Despite minor changes, Michael and Jai want to reassure guests that the Otter & Fish they all know and love will not be changed, only improved.

Michael said: “The pub name, the staff and chef will not change, we’re not here to create a whole new pub. We saw an opportunity to develop the pub’s current offering, and we will do this without affecting its style.”

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