VS’is a landmark of British drinking culture that is closing its doors. The Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, located in St Albans, north London, and which claims to be Britain’s oldest pub, is set to close, CNN reports. The drinking establishment, which claims on its website to have been open since 793, did not survive difficult years marked by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“After a prolonged period of extremely difficult business conditions”, the pub has closed, its owner, Christo Tofalli, announced on Facebook. “I and my team have tried everything to keep the pub going,” but “the last two years have been unprecedented for the hospitality industry, and have defeated everyone who has made their best to ensure the sustainability of this multi-award-winning pub, ”he explains, admitting that the establishment was already facing difficulties before the pandemic. “It goes without saying that I am heartbroken: this pub has been much more than a business for me, and I feel honored to have played even a small part in its history”, concludes Christo Tofalli.
The main structure of the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks dates from the XIand century, but the pub proclaims its anteriority. The Guinness Book Records notably awarded it the title of oldest bar in England. Title now suspended, as reported by a spokesperson for the organization in a press release, because it had “become clear that it was not possible to verify it”. The drinking establishment owes its name to the cockfights that were organized there.
Between 2008 and 2018, more than 11,000 pubs closed, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, reducing the total number of pubs by almost a quarter.