East London Food & Culture

What’s going on with all these boozers then?

Three pubs in crisis, including Pepper's Ghost. But at least one local fave has just launched a whisky den
Inside Pepper’s Ghost before it unceremoniously closed. Photo: PR

So, a few pubs round these parts are suddenly in a bit of a mess. Closed suddenly and without explanation a couple of weeks back is mock-Tudor landmark boozer the Heathcote Arms.

A real community force, the locally listed Grove Green Road boozer, saved after a petition in 2014, has been shut with no explanation given by the owners.

Arguably more unpredictable was the sorry development this week over in E10, which saw managers Jeff and Victoria evicted from Pepper’s Ghost, a pub they helped restore and reopened six months ago, by owners Punch Taverns – who have now closed it .

“The professional term is called churning and unfortunately Victoria and I fell victim to it,” says Jeff Ginsburgh. “They are using the marketing plan we originally submitted to resell the place. The flats thing was part of a five-year plan for them, although we managed to get an ACV put on the pub.”


To complicate matters further, Punch claim breach of contract and “cash losses” and have released a statement explaining their side of the “regrettable situation” (read it in full here). They also claim they’ll reopen the pub “as soon as possible”.

Handsome bugger: the Lord Rockwood. Photo:Twitter

More odd goings on over at the historic Lord Rookwood, whose proposed reopening this year has stalled. The stalwart local venue closed in 2013 and has since been through planning for various uses, all of which have been rejected thanks to the local community fighting to keep it as a local pub.

“We continue to work on getting this purchase finally completed and remain committed to getting this lovely old pub refurbished and reopened,” say the bigwigs at Antic, who also own hit duo the Red Lion and the Technical. “The delay is frustrating for all concerned and we’re really sorry that we still cannot provide a firm date as to when we might finally invite you all back to your local pub.”

From storage stables….to whisky den. See the finished room for yourselves this weekend. Photo: Facebook

Oh dear. Still, in other – more positive – news the wonderful Northcote is going from strength to strength. “Yes, we’ve converted our second stables into a beer and whisky den,” chirrups owner Tuesday, with a virtual high five. “We’ve put a lick of paint of the walls and stuffed some new local beer in the fridge whilst we’re at it.”

The secret new hideaway launched this week with some fine giveaways by local brewery Signature, as well as Five Points and Camden Brewery. We’ve yet to hear from the landlady what the exact range of liquor is – so your best bet is to check it out for yourselves this weekend.

And at least it’s one pub that should – we hope – remain beautifully and thrivingly open.

Find The Northcote, open daily, at 110 Grove Green Rd, London E11. It’s open till 1230 tonight and 1am on Saturdays.

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