Hampstead's Old White Bear is back in business

The Old White Bear landlord Sam Moss

The Old White Bear landlord Sam Moss - Credit: André Langlois

A Hampstead village pub has reopened after six years with the shutters down.

The Old White Bear welcomed delighted customers last week after many had spent years campaigning for its return, securing asset of community value (ACV) status for the building. 

The renovation began in August and landlord Sam Moss's team have been putting the final touches to a new venture steeped in the pub's history.

Sam said: "The main thing is that the community have just shown such incredible enthusiasm for the pub reopening.

"We've had hundreds of people putting their heads through the door while we've been doing the renovation work and loads of people who have such fond memories of the pub, who used to drink here all the time, or for whom it holds massively special memories. 

"And, actually, for us, we've done the work now. Almost up until now it's been our pub but if we've done our job right it's not our pub anymore, it becomes everybody else's pub, and that's the most important thing."

Inside Hampstead's The Old White Bear

Inside Hampstead's The Old White Bear - Credit: Polly Hancock

Leeds Brewery runs the Haverstock Tavern in Haverstock Hill and recently reopened Primrose Hill's The Albert.

Sam said as soon as he saw the Old White Bear, he had a good feeling about it.

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"Before we'd even come to visit the Old White Bear, before we knew it was on the market, people had said: 'The Old White Bear – you should go and have a look at the Old White Bear. It would be amazing if the Old White Bear opened.'

"So, it was something that was always on our radar to be able to do, and it's just fantastic. It feels fantastic tonight."

The Old White Bear's general manager, Bradley Hawkins

The Old White Bear's general manager, Bradley Hawkins - Credit: Polly Hancock

The reopening comes at a difficult time for the hospitality industry, with uncertainty over further Covid restrictions.

Sam said he tries not to worry about things outside his control, but he added: "We could be in for a long and difficult second half of the winter but that's something that we're just going to have to deal with and, again, a bit like with the Albert, if the local community wants to come and support the pub then we will get through the period of closure.

"There will need to be government support, of course, because we can't exist on no income."

Inside Hampstead's The Old White Bear

Inside Hampstead's The Old White Bear - Credit: Polly Hancock