IT LOOKED like last orders at a popular South Tyneside pub – but now regulars are raising a glass to a late reprieve.
The Grey Hen pub in South Shields faced possible closure when a licencee switch fell through on Tuesday, but its doors were back open last night after brewery chain Ash Pubs and Taverns stepped in.
The watering hole in Temple Park Road, South Shields, was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday but now its business as usual with the new management aiming to keep the venue at the heart of the community.
The lease on the pub was made available by pub chain Enterprise when the previous tenants decided they were to leave. But it faced an uncertain future when the proposed new licencees failed to complete a deal to take over on Tuesday.
Wayne Davies, area manager of Ash Pubs and Taverns, based in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, said: “We received a call on Tuesday afternoon. We had about half an hour to decide. It would either stay closed or we would take over. The previous people at the pub had given notice they were leaving and the new people due to take over didn’t turn up.
“We opened up just for drink last night. We had draught beer but no spirits. Now it’s business as usual.
“We have retained all of the fixed-term staff who were here previously.
“We were closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We will be keeping the quizzes, which are popular, and it will be the same traditional pub with good food. A good community local.
“All we want to change is to make it even more of a focal point of the community.
“Everyone is welcome.”
A new management team was swiftly appointed and normal order is now resumed behind the bar.
Only last week the Simonside Arms in Newcastle Road, South Shields, closed its doors while a search for a new licensee was launched.
But it’s happy hour again at The Grey Hen.