The Sad Reason This 1,200-Year-Old British Pub Is Saying Goodbye

It saw the dawn of the reign of Edward the Confessor and the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II. It survived wars, the Crusades, and numerous waves of varying epidemics and illnesses that killed thousands, including the Black Death (via Historic UK). But even the might of history was no match for COVID-19 and the devastation it wrought over Britain's food and beverage landscape. Three years after the pandemic began, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, which opened in AD793, was forced to close its doors (via BBC).

The legendary pub's landlord, Christo Tofalli, used a 21st-century way to spread the news of the institution's demise. In a Facebook message dated February 4, he wrote, "Along with my team, I have tried everything to keep the pub going. However, the past two years have been unprecedented for the hospitality industry, and have defeated all of us who have been trying our hardest to ensure this multi-award-winning pub could continue trading into the future."

Tofalli goes on to say that the toll COVID-19 took on the pub left them "unable to meet our financial obligations" which caused massive stress for the employees and the pub itself. With a humble, yet sad finish, he shares his heartbreak but also his gratitude for those he has met along the way, and for the chance to be part of something historic.

The pub may reopen under new management

The closure was met with sadness. One fan commented on the Facebook announcement, "I am absolutely devastated for you all to hear this extremely sad news....This is my fave local pub and I'm going to miss it so much!!! Thank you so much for all the good times, love to you all." There are 304 more comments expressing disappointment over the pub closing. One pub patron even put forth a valiant effort by starting a gofundme, no longer active, that stated "I've spent countless nights here with friends, family and even met my fiancé here. It's an irreplaceable piece of history that must be saved."

The pub garnered the attention of international media, not only for its closing but thanks to a now-defunct Guinness Book of World Records accolade as the oldest pub in the world, which occurred because Guinness realized the record could not be verified (via CNN). Still, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks might make news once again, as the current owner, Mitchells and Butlers, is working to reopen the venue. Per CNN, a spokesperson for the owner stated "We are currently exploring all opportunities for the site's future and hope to reopen the pub under new management as soon as possible."