The Engineer - Shaken? Perhaps a little stirred

It seems celebrities just can’t keep away from their old haunt The Engineer in Primrose Hill, with James Bond propping up the bar since it reopened.

But hold your breath 007 fans, the global superstar Daniel Craig was not supping on his character’s signature cocktail. In fact there was not even a Martini in sight when Daniel Craig breezed into the bar in Gloucester Avenue.

As he chatted to staff and locals alike the newly-married English actor settled for the healthier alternative of a glass of red wine.

Tim Shanks, the new live-in manager, has taken over the reins, but was mindful that high-profile regulars would not take lightly to a dramatic overhaul.

“It was great to have Daniel Craig in the pub and he seemed to really enjoy the place. He had a couple of drinks and was chatting to away to everyone. We were just thinking, ‘Is he going to get a Martini?!’.

“He didn’t,” said Mr Shanks.

Following the much publicised departure of Sir Laurence Olivier’s daughter Tamsin from the pub, rumours spread that The Engineer was going to close down, even demolished.

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But after a four-week hiatus to fix the roof, the watering hole is back in action under Mitchells & Butlers management which reclaimed the successful gastro-pub in October.

Mr Shanks said: “There are so many people who come in and say, ‘What was the fuss about?’ People thought it was going to end up like a Wetherspoons.”

He has had the sense to stick with a winning formula, while adding his own personal touches.

Mr Shanks managed to pinch The Ivy Club’s sous-chef for his kitchen and has total control over the drinks and food menu – something the previous owners allegedly did not.

Curious, if sceptical, celebrity regulars such as Harry Enfield have pitched up to the pub and – to Mr Shanks’ delight – have come back for a second or third visit.

He said: “It’s early doors, but it has been really good so far and a lot of people seem not really that bothered by the fact that it has changed hands.”

Have the changes shaken The Engineer’s popular identity? Perhaps a little stirred.