Verulam Arms to open under new name
PUBLISHED: 15:53 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:53 21 January 2020
A well-loved St Albans pub that closed without warning last year is re-opening soon.
The Verulam Arms building, previously known as The Foragers, has been re-let on a 10-year lease to an experienced local bar owner who is due to open it shortly.
It was feared by regulars that the pub might be sold on as a residential property.
Instead it will open with a brand new name - The Rabbit Hole - and will be open in February.
Managing director Chris Warren said: "We have done an extensive refurbishment on the property and look to create a comfortable atmosphere with great tasting takes on modern English food.
"The dining experience is typically tapas style 'pub grub' and there is a separate bar area serving premium lager, cocktails and wines.
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"We will be over 21s from 9pm and open seven days a week from 12 noon."
The Lower Dagnall Street pub declared insolvency overnight in July 2019, to the shock of the local community, leaving more than 10 employees redundant and unpaid for its last month of trading.
It had only just been nominated for Best Pub in the St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards 2019, and co-owners Richard Osmond and George Fredenham were renowned for organising Foraging Walk and Feast events around St Albans alongside the pub business.
The Verulam Arms had also been included in a favourite local pub list in The Guardian and in Britain's 20 best pubs for foodies list by the Times.
Richard said at the time of the closure: "The absolute worst thing about what happened is having to make everybody redundant overnight, and making them wait for their last paycheck.
"These hardworking people didn't deserve that - in fact, they are the best team we have ever had."
Patron Frank Casey described the closure of the Verulam Arms as "heartbreaking": "It's another pub, in a city that is renowned for its pubs, that is gone.
"The only people to blame are the people who haven't used it."