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New chapter for Hampstead pub

PUBLISHED: 13:36 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:40 07 September 2010

ANOTHER famous Hampstead pub has lost its independence after being sold on to one of the industry s biggest chains. The 200-year-old Holly Bush, tucked away off Holly Hill, has been bought by Fuller s Inns, which owns dozens of pubs across

Ben McPartland

ANOTHER famous Hampstead pub has lost its independence after being sold on to one of the industry's biggest chains.

The 200-year-old Holly Bush, tucked away off Holly Hill, has been bought by Fuller's Inns, which owns dozens of pubs across the capital and the south east.

Fuller's, who describe themselves as "London's only remaining traditional family brewery", snapped up the pub just before Christmas.

The Holly Bush, housed in a Grade II-Listed Georgian building, will be added to Fuller's ever expanding estate, which includes the famous Flask in Pond Square, Highgate.

Simon Emeny, managing director of Fuller's Inns, promised to keep the pub faithful to its current design and atmosphere.

He said: "The Holly Bush is a beautiful and charming pub with lots of little quirks in its personality which have endeared it to customers over the years.

"It is just the kind of pub you want to visit after taking the dog out for a walk, or to read the Sunday papers. It has a great reputation for its food, beers and wines, which I can wholeheartedly recommend myself."

The deal follows the sale of Well Road's Ye Old White Bear, which is due to be transformed into a gastro pub and last week the Ham&High reported how the threat of development is hanging over the Duke of Hamilton pub at New End.

Hampstead pub connoisseur and Ham&High cartoonist Ken Pyne said he wasn't too concerned about the sale.

"I hope it's good news as Fuller's does not have a reputation for ruining pubs. The pub is not only a wonderful old Georgian survivor but a tourist attraction, so is a great asset to Hampstead and long may it stay that way."

The traditional boozer has been a popular hang out for locals in Hampstead as well as celebrities such as Oasis front man Liam Gallagher, actor Jude Law, Spice Girl Mel C, and Matt Lucas and David Walliams from hit TV show Little Britain.

Previous owner Simon Kirkham, a property developer, admitted he had to think carefully about who he accepted as new owners of the pub.

He said: "I've been here for exactly 10 years and I didn't want to sell the pub to just anyone.

"We had a great deal of interest from a wide range of parties and it was important to not be tempted by the highest price, but to consider the pub's future."

There was good news for aficionados of traditional pubs in Kentish Town this week, where the Southampton Arms has reopened as an old fashioned ale house.

Pete Holt, the new owner of the pub, has vowed to pay homage to London's historic alehouses and stock the very best cask ales and ciders.

In a dig at the current breed of gastro pubs sweeping the capital he said "It will be a family run boozer where tankards are in and gazpacho is out.


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