‘Pubs in decline in Alnwick’

Queens Head Hotel, Alnwick
Queens Head Hotel, Alnwick

Pubs in Alnwick are in decline as two well-known and long-lasting establishments have closed and another is up for sale.

The Queen’s Head, on Market Street, closed its doors on June 1 because of rising costs, while Ye Olde Cross, better known as the Dirty Bottles, on Narrowgate, has also been shut for a number of weeks.

On its Facebook page, the landlords of the Queen’s said ‘it was a sad day’ but that the reason they were closing was due to a ‘money-grabbing’ pub company charging ‘exorbitant’ prices for its beer and drinks which were far higher than the company actually paid the breweries.

It added that the company was also ‘full of false promises’, but said: “A massive thanks to all who have supported us the last 11 months, not forgetting the great staff, and made the pub a very pleasant place to work/be.

“I have made some great friends and enjoyed some real laughs with you.”

Meanwhile the Oddfellows Arms, also on Narrowgate, has a for sale sign up, but is still open.

Alnwick town and county councillor Gordon Castle said: “I have to be honest, but I am surprised that these pubs have lasted so long.

“I think the town is somewhat over-supplied with pubs given the downturn in pub business.

“There just aren’t the numbers of people out in Alnwick on a Friday and Saturday night like there used to be.

“I know the Bottles was struggling, but I am surprised about the Queen’s.

“They have cited rising costs and I know there is a Government scheme which is going to do something about this.

“Pub companies do charge extortionate rents and make unreasonable demands on landlords.

“A lot of pubs now seem to focus on food.

“When I was a boy there were 26 pubs in Alnwick. There isn’t that number now.”

It is hoped that all three pubs will still trade in the future.

The Gazette was unable to contact the owners of the Oddfellows as they are away. Landlords of both the Queen’s and the Bottles have left.