Nestled in the heart of Chickerell is a homely pub, full of character and welcoming staff.

As you approach the Lugger Inn from West Street, Chickerell, you will find it tucked away up Lugger Close.

Mother and son team Gill and Liam Coles took over the running of the pub four years ago, after the Covid pandemic.

Liam has lived in Chickerell all his life and explained that the Lugger ‘means more to him than any other pub would.’

Part of this reason is because it is the first pub that Liam ever stepped foot in, he added ‘my uncle owned a pub a few years ago, but the first legal one.’

Dorset Echo: The Lugger InnThe Lugger Inn (Image: Hollie Carr)

Liam has worked behind bars in the past, and having a strong passion for hospitality and hosting led him to embark on the journey of owning his own pub – and his mum ‘came along for the ride.’

 The landlord said: “It’s got a really good atmosphere with people that really respect the place and just being part and the centre of a community is great. People thanking you for just being here - Since covid, I think it’s something the community really needed.

“It’s also great for local people and their first jobs – getting youngsters going in life, changing their character.”

Another key member of the team is manager Leonii Allington who started at the pub when she was 17.

Dorset Echo: The Lugger InnThe Lugger Inn (Image: The Lugger Inn)

Liam said: “She was chucked in at the deep end at the same time as us when we didn’t have a clue what we were doing.”

Playing a major part of the pub’s livelihood and playing a huge part in its reputation are the events that the team throw.

Liam added: “We host lots of live music events and it’s just evolved now into five or six main larger ones which are themed a lot of the time.

“We have our staple live music and quiz night, but we have got a bit of a reputation now for the larger events where we use the whole pub and garden.”

These events can range from a Caribbean night, 80’s night, indie night and a Carni-still circus themed event.

Dorset Echo: Liam and Gill ColesLiam and Gill Coles (Image: NQ)

Liam said: “Carni-still is our take on a carnival because there was no Weymouth Carnival at the time to bring the community together at that point, driven by a little bit of thirst for families and others to come back to the pub.

“People don’t seem to be willing to go out as much unless there is something to do. I think people’s habits have changed again, since covid. After covid, people were going out – you didn’t have to do much to get them through the door, you could just say that you were open

“Now it is going back to pre-covid times where people are a bit more selective of where and why they are spending their money.”

Liam believes that this is one of the reason’s that keeps his customers coming back for more, in addition to the ‘atmosphere’ and ‘great food.’

Dorset Echo: The Lugger InnThe Lugger Inn (Image: The Lugger Inn)

Speaking of his ‘amazing kitchen staff,’ Liam said: “We serve great, fresh pub grub which is quite high end, and we are also quite versatile.”

In terms of the atmosphere, the landlord spoke of how ‘people talk and get to know each other and feel welcome.’

He said: “We have a good mix of locals, tourists and people from outside of Weymouth. We are a destination pub as well as a locals pub so it makes for quite a balanced atmosphere

“Chickerell has got a lot bigger so there’s a lot of old locals that still do come here but I think when we opened it gave the new locals a chance to claim the pub as their own as well.”

In the summer, the beer garden is at the epicentre of the pub, drawing in a lot of people.

As part of their community spirit ethos the team behind the Lugger have launched the ‘Life and Soul Community Trust.’

The trust was set up after they spotted an appeal from a local lady on Facebook who had been living in a B&B with her three children, the lady was given a lifeline and housed to a flat.

‘She needed a van to pick up goods others had donated for the empty flat, so the trust sent a man and a van to pick them up.

‘The kids and the lady had a massive smile on their faces when they delivered the sofa and some other items.’