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New landlord of The Bull in Highgate to preserve unusual 17th century traditions

PUBLISHED: 17:08 11 August 2016 | UPDATED: 17:15 11 August 2016

Rob Laub, the new owner of The Bull in Highgate. Photo: Nigel Sutton

Rob Laub, the new owner of The Bull in Highgate. Photo: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The landlord at a historic Highgate pub, first built as a pub around 1730, says he has no plans to make sweeping changes

Rob Laub new owner of The Bull in Highgate pictured with his Bulldog Rodney. Photo: Nigel SuttonRob Laub new owner of The Bull in Highgate pictured with his Bulldog Rodney. Photo: Nigel Sutton

Rob Laub, who lives in West Hampstead, wants to preserve the Grade II-listed pub The Bull in North Hill and focus on producing “nice, fresh, honest, rustic pub food”.

He does not want to make any changes to the exterior or interior – and took over the pub discreetly, rather than holding a change-over party for customers.

“It’s almost like having a nice country pub,” Mr Laub said.

“I feel like I’m not in London when in Hampstead and Highgate.”

Mr Laub is the director of Gorgeous Pubs, part of a chain which owns a pub in Hackney.

But he is committed to Highgate and said he will even keep up the more unusual drinking customs.

Mr Laub had not heard of “Swearing on the Horns” – an ancient Highgate tradition where drinkers promise, among other things, not to drink small beer when they can get strong.

But he told the Ham&High he is happy to maintain the seventeenth century custom.

It still takes place every now and then, raising funds for the London Centre for Cerebral Palsy in Muswell Hill for around 50 years.

Mr Laub is planning an end of summer party, but he wants to spend the next six to eight months listening to his customers to find out what they want from the pub.

And he might bring back the wrought iron pub sign, once in place 30 or 40 years ago.

The Bull, on the edge of Highgate Village, has an on-site microbrewery and Mr Laub said he is interested in developing craft beers.

Past landlords of The Bull, London Brewing Company, owned the pub for five years.

Landlord Dan Fox fondly remembers resurrecting The Bull in 2011 after it was closed for two years.

“It was so nice seeing a derelict building being brought back into its use as a pub,” he said.

“We built up a really good community pub.”

He added: “We wish Rob all the best with his new venture.”

The London Brewing Company is now expanding the craft beer side of the company – selling to suppliers across the country.

Its brewhouse in The Bohemia pub in North Finchley can produce 100 hectoliters of beer a week.

The sale of the The Bull was brokered by Savills for an undisclosed sum.

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