We all know that the London hospitality industry is in difficulties. First there was a series of crippling pandemic lockdowns, then a Brexit-fuelled staffing shortage and now a cost-of-living crisis that threatens to send the price of a pint skyrocketing into the teens of pounds.
Now though, there comes a really significant piece of evidence that this disaster is both deeper and potentially more prolonged than we might think. Bargain high-street pub king Wetherspoon’s has announced that it is putting 32 of its UK pubs up for sale and almost a third of them are in London.
The chain is selling nine of its pubs in the capital. It blames the closures on a hike in staff wages and maintenance costs potentially creating a £30 million loss for the company. Those pubs at risk include prime premises in Holborn, Islington and Battersea.
The Wetherspoon’s pubs for sale in London are:
The Asparagus (Battersea), The Miller’s Well (East Ham), The Bankers Draft (Eltham), The Hudson Bay (Forest Gate), The Capitol (Forest Hill), The Toll Gate (Hornsey), The Penderel’s Oak (Holborn), The Angel (Islington), The Alfred Herring (Palmers Green). In addition, there are pubs at risk in Bexleyheath, Harrow, Purley and Sevenoaks.
In a statement, Wetherspoon’s said: ‘On occasion, Wetherspoon does put some of its pubs up for sale. This is a commercial decision. We understand that customers and staff will be disappointed with it. The pubs will continue to operate as Wetherspoon outlets until they are sold.’
It’s not the first time that Wetherspoon’s has put its London pubs up for sale. Back in 2016, it tried to sell six of them, including the gorgeous Capitol in Forest Hill (up for sale again this time), a huge former cinema with David Bowie connections. The company has around 800 UK pubs. They might not always be our favourite watering holes, but you know where you are with a ’Spoons.
You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
More information on the JD Wetherspoon site.