CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

The Constitution pub suddenly closes down

Young’s Brewery say they will spend six months refurbishing canalside bar, as staff are locked out of their jobs

07 February, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

THE new owners of one of Camden Town’s best-loved pubs have been accused of acting with a “callous disregard” for its staff and regular customers after suddenly closing the venue without any notice.

The Constitution, which opened in 1850 in St Pancras Way, has been sold to the brewery Young’s, who moved in on Tuesday morning, saying all staff would be laid off and the pub would be closed.

Removal men took out fittings, a pool table, jukebox and fruit machines – leaving the site empty ahead of a six-month refurbishment.

The Constitution, which is one of the area’s last traditional pubs, boasts a popular cellar bar that is used for intimate gigs. It also has a large beer garden that is loved by a loyal band of regulars who cherish its location away from the tourist traps near Camden Lock.

Pubs of Distinction, the company which owned the bar, had been in line to sell it to a firm who run the Tommy Flynn’s bar in Holloway.

They were due to move in last week but, according to staff, the freeholder instead bought up the remaining 13 years on the pub’s lease and sold it on to Young’s. Staff said they were “shellshocked” by the lack of any notice ­given, while customers say the way the sale has been handled means they will never drink there again.

Marie Phillips, who has worked at the canalside bar for more than 34 years, told the New Journal: “People from Young’s came in at 10am, closed the pub and told us all to go immediately. They gave us no notice at all. It really is an end of an era. We are so upset, and if we had just had a bit of notice then at least we could have made some arrangements and let our ­regulars know.”

“We have a group who come in every lunchtime, we have ­regular jazz gigs in the cellar bar. We had a wake booked in for next week – they (Young’s) just said to us, ‘cancel everything’, just like that. It is just completely disgraceful. They have shown no regard at all for the customers or staff.”

Regular John Murphy told the New Journal he had been drinking in the pub for nearly 40 years and it had been the scene of his children’s christenings, as well as their 18th, 21st and 30th birthday parties.

“It is the last remaining pub in Camden Town where you could go in, meet friends, watch the football, play darts and not spend an absolute fortune. It had a lovely atmosphere, everyone there was part of a family,” he said. “There are plenty of pubs in Camden Town you can go to for a posh roast dinner if you want – the Constitution was a place for everyone.”

He added: “It is a crying shame. This south London lot, Young’s, have come into Camden and bulldozed into our pub. “For a company that size to behave like this to a local boozer is unforgivable and completely callous. It is sheer greed. “None of the regulars will ever step foot in something run by Young’s, after the way they have treated our friends who worked there. It was like an eviction.”

A spokesman for Young’s said: “Young’s are delighted to have purchased the Constitution pub in Camden.  We will be refurbishing the pub over the next five months. Unfortunately this has required a complete closure of the pub with immediate effect.  We will be reopening in early summer and look forward to bringing the Constitution back into the heart of the community.”

He added: “We regret there has been an impact on staff due to the extended refurbishment. We will be rehiring in the summer and would encourage existing staff to apply at that time.”

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