A once notorious Richmond boozer has turned its fortunes around by barring drug dealers and “trouble makers” to become a gastro food pub.
But since being taken over by Nick Botting, the premises has started attracting a new clientele, and has been given permission to open earlier.
Mr Botting said “I barred about seven drug dealers, and I barred about another 17 trouble makers. You get to hear and know who these people are, then you get rid of them and they go away.
“We’ve controlled the drinking. They used to have Jagerbomb issues with double-shot deals and everything, so the culture in the pub was big drinking and heavy drinking. It’s not now. We’re a gastro food pub operator with fine wines and bottles of Chablis at 55 or 60 quid, it’s a completely different offering.”
The pub will now be able to open earlier at 8am Monday to Saturday and 9am on Sunday, but can only offer coffee and breakfast until 10am.
It will also be allowed to have outside tables seating a maximum of eight people in a designated seating area. However these customers will only be able to consume alcohol as part of a meal at the tables, which will be removed by 8pm every day. Likewise, a maximum of four smokers will be allowed outside until 8pm, and must move down George Street after this time to avoid disturbing nearby residents.
Speaking about the decision, Mr Botting said: “We’re pleased, they were very reasonable and let us have our word and everybody had their chance to speak. We just want to move on and work with everybody and take the pub to where it should be.
“Historically it was a terrible pub, now it’s a little gastro pub and it’s an exciting time to move forward now.”
The application to Richmond Council to amend the license received five objections, as well as one from the Metropolitan Police.
While many residents applauded the recent improvements, several expressed concern that changes in the licence would bring back some of the old problems.
One neighbour said they were “delighted with the improvements since Nick has taken over the establishment. I now frequent the pub myself and have recommended it to friends.”
However, they emphasised “whilst I will continue to support the pub and recommend it to others, this is only on the basis of the current licensing restrictions and I am firmly against any weakening of the same.”
Another resident was not so convinced and noted there had been a creeping decline recently, and a police officer also remarked they had been sent photographs of “a consistent breach of the conditions that were attached to the presmises license” under Mr Botting’s ownership. The officer also sent a warning letter to Mr Botting in April this year, after seeing all the windows open, which was against the licensing conditions.
In response, Mr Botting said any breaches were “minor” and that since taking over they had “got rid of all the drugs and made a really nice family pub.”