A BRAND new pub and restaurant opened in Maldon High Street yesterday, aiming to bring something new to town’s pub scene.

Black Rabbit opened at the east end of the high street, where the old Ship and Anchor pub once was.

The venue has been taken over by couple Evan Eksteen, 37, and Annie Gladwell, 30, and is not like your traditional pub, as the Standard found out on their exclusive look inside yesterday.

Around the back of the building, there is a huge courtyard of colourful wooden table and chairs, with a cocktail bar that will serve guest a sparkling array of drinks including classics Cosmopolitan, Bloody Marys and mojitos to more unknown concoctions such as Heisenburgs and mud slides.

There is also a grass area covered in picnic blankets, for people to enjoy when the sun’s out.

Entering the Black Rabbit, you will find entertainments such as table football, arcade games, board games, Jenga and around the corner near the main bar, a UV decorated ping pong table.

The Black Rabbit’s drinks menu includes the many cocktails plus sharers, with wines, ales, larger, craft beers, soft and hot drinks.

There are sofas and window seats along with traditional dining tables near the kitchen and in the building’s conservatory.

The food menu is wide ranging, with classic pub dishes, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, desserts, sharing platters, and street food, with many dishes being suitable for vegans.

On Saturdays, the Black Rabbit offers their bottomless brunch, meaning unlimited prosecco, as well as Sunday roasts.

The Black Rabbit will be holding various events and screening high profile sports fixtures, such as the Fifa World Cup later this month.

Evan and Annie officially bought the premises on May 18 after first finding it in September last year.

The couple previously lived in Romford, with Evan previously working as an operations manager for several pubs in London, and the couple wanted to break out and create their own business.

The name came from them owning a rabbit and a black dog, Rocky, who is now acting as the official pub dog.

After scouring the majority of Essex, they set their sights on Maldon and have pursued the building of the Ship and Anchor for more than six months.

Annie said: “We fell in love with Maldon and then this building, it’s been a wild few weeks getting it all together. I’ve barely slept.

“The key thing we wanted for the Black Rabbit was the focus on fun and games. To make it something more than just a drink and bite to eat. We wanted to offer lots of different games, activities, food and drinks for lots of different people.

“We have the option for a group of friends to come in, enjoy a drink and have a game of ping pong, for someone to enjoy a light cup of tea and cake with a board game, or for a hen party to come in and enjoy a bottomless brunch.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback from our updates on Instagram, people are really getting behind the idea and seem really excited for us to open. We’re as excited as them!”

The Black Rabbit will be open seven days a week from midday, with ten members of staff, and will also be a bed and breakfast, with three bedrooms available.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/blackrabbitmaldon.