Harbour Lights closure is latest blow in decline of once-bustling Lawe Top pub scene

The Harbour Lights
The Harbour Lights

The closure of the Harbour Lights leaves just one pub running on the Lawe Top.

The once-booming pub shut its doors earlier this month, with a lease sign now up advertising for a new landlord to take it on.

Earlier in the decade the Harbour Lights was frequently packed, with Masterchef: The Professionals finalist John Calton as head chef.

The Victorian watering hole, which is owned by Heineken's Star Pubs and Bars outfit, is due a refurbishment, and drinkers are hopeful it will reopen under a new landlord.

But until such a time, The Lookout on Fort Street is now the only pub still open on the Lawe Top - an area once known for its bustling pubs.

The nearby Beehive in Mile End Road also remains open, but Sketenders may consider this as sitting outside the Lawe Top area.

The Turks Head in Greens Place was the first casualty. Known for its live music nights and folk club, the pub closed its doors in the early noughties, with owners blaming restrictions imposed on live performances after complaints from residents.

The pub has now been demolished, replaced with an apartment complex.

Overlooking the river and featuring an impressive mural by regular Bob Olley, The Beacon in Greens Place was once a buzzing venue known for its quizzes and themed events.

But a decline in fortunes under new owners saw it close in 2015. There were plans to convert the pub into apartments, but the building was later put back on the market for £450,000 and still sits empty today.

Gazette readers have spoken of their sadness after the news both the Harbour Lights and The Rattler on the seafront have closed.

Lysa High-Stephenson said: "Such a shame. I live right by the Harbour Lights. So sad to see it closed. People need to support their locals.. pubs/butchers/corner shops."

Wayne Scott said: "If people went in them they wouldn’t close. Pubs are for life, not just for Christmas."

Kevin Howell said: "Christmas and New Year over and then Dry January and health kicks means running a pub is a tough business, sadly.

"It’s all about supply and demand, if they don’t get customers you can’t blame the owners for looking for other ways to earn a living. Tough times."