The story of “The Fox in Napier”
Some think of England as a cold, miserable and grey. As unfriendly, drab and unwelcoming … but one thing that is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike is the good 'Ol English Pub.
But in South Africa, can there be anything better than relaxing outdoors in the beer-garden on a hot summers day, sipping an ice-cold lager or tucking into a plate of hot “pub-grub” on a chilly winters evening? Or sitting in a friendly pub with the “regulars” perched on their bar stools holding serious debates or sharing stories while the cricket plays out on the corner TV. Luckily for those of us in the Overberg, we have such a pub right on our doorstop.
If you’ve driven through the quaint little town of Napier, you will have seen The Fox nestled at the entrance of the town. The pub, a ‘taste of England in the heart of the Overberg'' is run by Mike & Louise Williams. This warm and friendly couple opened the pub in 2006 and since then have welcomed people from far and wide into their little corner of "Naparian England."
Going back! It all began in 2002 when they learned tricks of the trade in the very home of the English pub, Old Blighty herself! Mike was taken aside by his mother in law and asked, “why aren’t you doing what you love to do and living your dream?”
Their dream was to have their own pub and restaurant somewhere in the countryside in the Western Cape where Mike and Louise could both do what they most enjoyed. For mike it was creating delicious home cooked meals and for Louise it was playing hostess to her customers – lending an ear to listen, or serving a perfect cup of coffee or drink to a weary traveller. Both of them were doing something very different at the time and Mike could not think of one reason why they were not, in fact, living their dream. So they decided there and then to sell their house, pack their bags and head to England to ‘pub country’ to learn from the experts.
It didn’t take them long to find a pub in need of new management and from there the two of them began a life full of new adventures. Mike became and expert in the kitchen, quickly familiarising himself with the stringent English laws, mastering the pub favourites and becoming comfortably at ease with all the culinary equipment.
Louise too slotted right in behind the bar and became one of the very few women who can efficiently clean and change draught-lines in the blink of an eye.
New challenges! Mike and Louise were away for four years learning everything that there is to learn about running the traditional English pub. They felt confident that they could run their very own pub back in South Africa, and so the search of the perfect spot to fulfil their dream began.
The spot presented itself in the form of a rather small and rundown house on a corner of Sarel Cilliers Street in Napier. But the two of them had a vision in their minds and they knew the spot would be ideal. They put in an offer, moved in and then began the hard work of turning this corner of Napier into their dream. Walls were knocked down, floors sanded, painting and decorating done and the special area was decked out with the new oak bar and authentic regalia that they had collected on their travels.
Before long, the small and dingy little house was transformed into something quite magical.
Stepping into The Fox through Louise’s colourful and fragrant garden, you immediately feel the warmth and the comfort it offers. You are greeted by this friendly hostess who will lead you to your table or a cosy corner in the bar and it will feel like home.
There are no fewer than 6 draught beers on tap to choose from and The Fox is the only pub between Somerset west and Port Elizabeth with Guinness on tap. The variety of meals on the menu spoils the customer for choice … and the “specials board” is always full of Mike’s amazing pub favourites.
You are also guaranteed a friendly visit from the chef Mike himself who will personally ensure that you are happy with your meal.
Do yourself a favour and treat yourself. Not just to pub grub and beer, but to an experience. An experience of warmth and friendliness, a delicious ‘bord vol kos’ and ice cold drink and service that your have to go a very long way to beat.