Monday 5 December 2016

Falstaff's second refurbishment in 18 months

The Sir John Falstaff - to reopen soon
This is a strange bit of local pub news. The Falstaff on King Street, Southport, has been closed for refurbishment and will soon reopen as the Sir John Falstaff. The odd thing is that it reopened 16 or 17 months ago after a major refurbishment that cost £325,000. What went wrong?

Before I answer that: this pub was once my local, and at that time was very busy, but in recent years it has not done well. I went in a couple of times after last year's refurbishment, but wasn't impressed, as I wrote here. When it reopened, it had advertised itself as a sports bar. I think this is a mistake: there is no shortage of pubs showing sports in the area, but I'm fairly certain that there are not enough pub-going sports fans to fill them all. Besides, the Sandgrounder sports bar on Lord Street is five minutes' walk away, with much cheaper beer to boot. In addition, the Sir Henry Segrave, a JDW pub, is a similar distance, with a much better range of beers. With those two pubs nearby, real ale drinkers are unlikely to go out of their way for a very ordinary beer such as Brains Reverend James, which was the only real ale on offer when I called in. Having said that, there obviously wasn't enough to draw in other drinkers either, because the place never seemed busy when I passed by.

The new management have stated that they are going to serve both craft beers and cask ales, mentioning local breweries such as Southport and Burscough, and 'a great selection of gins'. They are also advertising 'artisan pizza' and to that end have installed a new pizza oven. Sports will now be shown in just one half of the pub, with the remaining space available for those of us who aren't sports fans; the pub is certainly big enough to cope with such a division.

It reopens on 16 December. I'll certainly give it another chance, and I hope it does well, but it is not easy for a pub to claw back lost custom.

Here is the report in the Southport Visiter.


  1. What is it with this obsession which pubs seem to have over pizza ovens at the moment? Now I enjoy a decent pizza, the same as the next person, but does it really have to be “artisanal”, or baked in a wood-fired oven?

    Yet again style over substance, and a classic case of the emperor’s new clothes.

  2. The Pub Curmudgeon has written an analysis of unsuccessful pub refurbishments and why they happen here.


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