Thursday, April 20, 2006


Tim Platt wasn't happen about what had happened to his local pub, the White Lion, in Hampton-in-Arden. He'd been drinking there for thirty years. He liked the musty red carpet, the big brass things hanging on the walls, the old photographs and ancient beer ads.

Then the owners went and spoiled it all. They didn't want to serve beer, with some food, they wanted to sell food, and maybe some beer.

Before Tim Platt knew what had happened, his grotty, but comfy, old local had been transformed into what most rural Brits disgustedly refer to as a 'gastropub'.

Tim still went to the White Lion, but nobody was going to tell him to shut up and end his complaints about how much he disliked the bare floors and bare walls and all round boring minimalism decore of the place.

From the Coventry Evening Telegraph : "It was a sad day," said Mr Platt, "it's a traditional village local but it was becoming bare boards and characterless. I voiced my opinion. It should serve food with beer, not food and no beer."

He was warned to keep his opinions to himself, he didn't, so he was banned. Forever.

But the new look, new food, pub didn't go over so well, and it didn't find the richer, Londoners-in-the-country set that would help it survive in the ultra-competitve English foodite market. The owner sold up.

Platt saw his chance, pooled his savings with a mate or two and bought the White Lion.

Thick carpet is going back in, he's on the prowl for old photographs and if he can find the right kind of brass gear to hang on the walls, that'll be going back up, too.

He wants to return the White Lion to his vision of what a traditional country pub should be.

"Business is going well and I think a lot of the villagers who were unhappy, as I was, are now returning to the pub," Mr Platt told the Conventry Evening News.

"There was an element of surprise when people heard I was buying the pub but there's been a lot of support in the village and people appreciate what we're trying to do."

But it won't be exactly the same. The carpet will be new, so it won't be sticky, or squelchy, or musty, or scarred with cigarette burns.

But Mr Platt will live with the little differences. For now, he's victorious, and he's burning the torch for a return of the British country pubs to the way they used to be. A warm and cosy meeting place for all the locals, not just those weekenders who can afford to spend $30 on steak and chips, with a caramelised sauce.

No comments: