Popular Linby pub calls last orders as Covid effect forces it to close

The Horse & Groom in Linby has closed due to underlying debts caused by the Covid lockdowns. Photo: Google
The Horse & Groom in Linby has closed due to underlying debts caused by the Covid lockdowns. Photo: Google

The Horse & Groom on Main Street has shut its doors with the ongoing knock-on effect of the Covid lockdowns being blamed as one of the main reasons.

The outgoing landlord hopes it will not be long before the brewery that owns the pub can find a new landlord to take it on.

But for now, the pub is closed.

Graeme Beal, the outgoing landlord, said: “We’re carrying debts from Covid and the losses we posted post-Covid because the cost of doing business, even with a slight reduction in your rent, is too much when you’re only able to operate at 50 per cent capacity and you can only open outside but you still have to double your staffing levels because it has to be full table service.

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"So we were in the situation where, yes, we were open, yes, we were busy, but no, we weren’t making any money.”

As well as the Covid restrictions, the soaring prices of gas and electricty, hiking up the pub’s utility bills, didn’t help matters either.

Graeme continued: “There were concessions on the rent during Covid, but we still had to pay some rent, and then we still needed to keep freezers and fridges going and the costs ended up mounting up.

"We attempted to trade our way out of the situation but then we hit the perfect storm, as it were, with gas and electric and the cost of raw materials like beer and ingredients, we just couldn’t continue.

"The shame about it is that, without the underlying debt, it is a cracking little business and it could have carried on, but not carrying those levels of debt.”

Graeme and his family have been at the pub for nine-and-a-half years and he says he will miss the pub and its regular customers.

He continued: “What people tend to forget about coming to the pub is, yes it is about having a bite to eat and pint of beer or a glass of wine, but it’s also about meeting your mates and talking rubbish sometimes and it’s the social aspect that we’ll miss the most.

"Hopefully the pub company will get someone in soon and the pub can re-open and be part of the community again.”