The historic Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub in St Albans, which first opened in 793, has closed after the company which runs it went into administration
A historic pub which has been serving punters for 13 centuries may have called last orders for the final time.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans, which claims to be Britain’s oldest pub, is facing an uncertain future after the company which runs it went into administration.
Landlord Christo Tofalli said the company, called Ye Olde Fighting Cocks (YOFC) Ltd, had been struggling to turn a profit for several years – due to rising costs and tax hikes – and the pandemic then had a “devastating” impact on business.
He said the pub’s owner Mitchells and Butlers (M&B) are now talking to the administrators of his company and will soon decide whether the venue will reopen.
The popular pub dates back to 793 and was renamed after it hosted cock fighting in the main bar in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reports HertsLive.
In a statement, Mr Tofalli said: “It is with great sadness that I have to announce that today, after a sustained period of extremely challenging trading conditions, YOFC Ltd has gone into administration.
“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.
“Before the pandemic hit, the escalating business rates and taxations we were managing meant trading conditions were extremely tough, but we were able to survive and were following an exciting five-year plan and were hopeful for the future.
“However the Covid-19 pandemic was devastating and our already tight profit margins gave us no safety net.
“This resulted in us being unable to meet our financial obligations as they were due, creating periods of great uncertainty and stress for all who worked for, and with, the pub.
“It goes without saying I am heartbroken: this pub has been so much more than just a business to me, and I feel honored to have played even a small part in its history.
“I am even more heartbroken for my incredible team and the wider Fighting Cocks family.”
He added: “I am currently working with the brewery, Mitchell and Butler, to lessen the impact of the closure of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks as we go into administration.
“I would like to thank them for their help and support throughout this process; they have been amazing. Every time I had an idea they supported me.
“I know it may seem strange but I have zero complaints. I am sorry to let them down too.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.