‘It’s tongue in cheek’: Highgate pub buys £30 wired phones to keep lockdown pints alive

Heath Ball, landlord of The Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, tries out his new order by phone system outside the pub which...

Heath Ball, landlord of The Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, tries out his new order by phone system outside the pub which currently offers drinks to take away. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A pub owner has hailed the local support of Highgate - after devising a “tongue in cheek” ordering system to keep the pints flowing over the Covid lockdown.

Heath Ball, landlord of The Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, tries out his new order by phone system outside the pub which...

Heath Ball, landlord of The Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, tries out his new order by phone system outside the pub which currently offers drinks to take away. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Heath Ball, who has run The Red Lion and Sun since 2007, bought two intercom phones for £30 so that customers can call and put their orders in as they pass the pub in North Road.

Drinkers ring from the front entrance of the boozer and their call is received a matter of metres away from its outdoor bar.

Government rules state drinks from pubs can only be pre-ordered, for instance over the phone, but it does not state where these calls must be made, so Heath’s innovative system appears to fit the bill.

“It’s all tongue in cheek,” the pub owner told the Ham&High. “People laugh at the phones, they have fun and it just highlights how ridiculous this all is.


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“Especially when you can hear customers on the phone down the driveway pacing their orders, and we’re then answering the phone saying: ‘Was that a mulled wine you wanted?’

The Red Lion and Sun in North Road. Picture: Archant

The Red Lion and Sun in North Road. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

“I don’t ring the supermarket to go and order a beer but if I want to go and support my local pub I’ve got to ring ahead and order drinks. Come on, really? It’s stupid.”

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Heath criticised the government for not doing more to support pubs through the pandemic.

As for the Highgate community, however, he was full of praise for helping keep it alive during the enforced closures of March and earlier this month.

“Highgate has really, really supported us and it’s really great,” Heath said. “Theres a real community atmosphere behind this all.

“We’re just a local pub. I own it, I’ve got a family to suppoort, my kids go to the local schools, and everyone’s rallying behind us which is great because they want to see us get through this.”

Under the new tiered Covid restrictions which will come into effect on December 2, pubs will be able to reopen unless placed in tier 3.

The Red Lion and Sun is open for takeaway and delivery drinks from Tuesday to Thursday 4pm-9pm, and Friday to Sunday 12pm-9pm.

To place an order call 020 8340 1780. For more information visit the pub’s website or Instagram.

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