July 22 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, June 12, 2014
The County of Suffolk pub in Ipswich has had something of a chequered history in recent times − but now a new team is preparing to open it again, and are champing at the bit to welcome customers.
Now a new team is preparing to open it again, and are champing at the bit to welcome customers.
New landlord Phil Griffiths is determined to make a go of it, despite flooding from the recent heavy rains and vandalism by raiders who broke in during the changeover period as he prepared to take over the town centre pub.
Mr Griffiths said: “It has been a tough few weeks.
“It was heart-breaking when we walked in,” he said. “The pool table had been turned over and the fruit machine smashed. There was glass everywhere.
“They had even ripped the condom machine off the walls in the toilets upstairs, damaging the tiles on the walls.”
Televisions were stolen and doors internal doors kicked in, he said, and the CCTV system had been removed by the intruders.
Then, as they were repairing and preparing to re-open the pub, two nights of severe storms and rain brought flood damage through the roof.
“We are getting there now. The water damage is expensive to put right,” he added. “We have been here about a month and we haven’t sold a pint yet. We just want to get everything right and start to welcome customers.”
Mr Griffiths and David Carley, who has his own gardening maintenance business, will be involved in running the pub in St Helens Street, where it is just a few yards from Ipswich Regent theatre.
“David is making an investment in the business,” Mr Griffiths explained. “I am the licensee and I will be running it day-to-day. He will be working here when it fits in with his other commitments.”
For Mr Griffiths it is a return to Ipswich, and also to the County. “I was here from June to November last year with Michael Knight when he was running the pub,” he said. “I then went to run my own pub/restaurant in Cambridgeshire.”
He said he spoke to the brewery about three potential premises, one in Diss, another in Kings Lynn and the County of Suffolk.
“We liked the look of this. It is a very good pub. We had built it up well before and it can be popular again.”
“This time I will be at the helm, rather than working for somebody else,” he added. “We had a very nice clientele and we want to welcome them back.”
“We’ve had a lot of work done and it all looks very good now. There are just a few finishing touches before we can welcome customers again.”
“It is all coming back together. We have got people working today and we hope to be open within a few days.”