'Bless this pub and all who drink in it' - Ye Olde Fighting Cocks reopens

At the reopening of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks: The new management with Father Richard Watson and Mayor Cllr Edgar Hill.

At the reopening of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks: The new management with Father Richard Watson and Mayor Cllr Edgar Hill. - Credit: Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Britain's oldest pub has reopened.

The new management at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans shared pints with patrons for the first time at midday on Monday, April 4.

The establishment, which fell into administration in February 2022, was taken over by former manager Martin Robinson last month.

Mayor of St Albans Councillor Edgar Hill was at Monday's event and Father Richard Watson read a dedication to the pub and all who visit.

Martin has teamed up with Sam Walker and head chef Ian Baulsh to run the pub.

He said: "Ian, Sam and I are now excited to be taking the pub into the next chapter of its story.

"We very much look forward to welcoming many familiar faces back here, and hopefully some new ones too."

Martin added: "I have worked here for 12 years as the manager so I have a clear vision of how to ensure the future success of this pub.

"Ian has been head chef for the past eight years and is excited to share the pub's new menus and his food strategy going forward.

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"Sam brings a talent for aesthetics and design which will help us to enhance our customer experience, while retaining all the wonderful features of its rich history.

"I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Christo Tofalli who worked so hard to steer the pub through many acutely challenging trading conditions."

Martin Robinson and Ian Baulsh, who have taken on Ye Olde Fighting Cocks with Sam Walker

Martin Robinson and Ian Baulsh, who have taken on Ye Olde Fighting Cocks with Sam Walker - Credit: Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Mitchells and Butlers, a pub chain with around 1,700 venues nationwide, is supporting the trio.

The pub dates to the 1500s and is said to have housed Oliver Cromwell for a night during the English Civil War.

Former landlord Christo Tofalli was forced to close the pub in February after facing financial challenges caused by Covid-19.

Christo said: "The last 10 years have been some of the best of my life and I would like to thank everyone that worked with us, visited the pub, did business with or simply just followed us."

He added: "I look forward with great pride to seeing Ye Olde Fighting Cocks go from strength to strength – and of course enjoying a cheeky beer the other side of the bar and celebrating the best pub in the world reopening."

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks lays claim to being Britain's oldest pub, which was once confirmed by Guinness World Records

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks lays claim to being Britain's oldest pub, which was once confirmed by Guinness World Records - Credit: Danny Loo

On Monday, Fr Watson thanked the new pub team for reopening the pub for the benefit of the community.

"We are eternally grateful," he said.

Part of his blessing was taken from a meditation by St Brigid.

It reads: "I'd like to give a lake of beer to God.

"I'd love the heavenly host to be tippling there for all eternity.

"I'd sit with the men and women of God there by the lake of beer - we'd be drinking good health together, and every drop would be a prayer."