Historic Reading boozer reopens after 16 months

The landlord of a historic Reading boozer left shut for 16 months by the coronavirus pandemic says he’s hoping the industry can “move forward” now restrictions have been eased.

Karl Mellows is the landlord of The Alehouse in Broad Street, which closed its doors in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold and the first restrictions were put in place.

Read More: Reading pub closed for 16 months reopens

Other boozers around the town have been able to reopen and then have had to close again as the various restrictions were first eased and then further lockdowns reintroduced.

However, the pub in Reading is severely limited in what it can do to keep people safe due to its location and size and as a result has not been able to open at all during the pandemic.

Celebrations were held on Monday, July 19, as it finally reopened after a 16 month haitus.

Karl said it had been an “interesting at times” but added it has been much worse for other people.

He said: “Some pubs haven’t been able to reopen at all and, even worse than that, there are many people out there who have lost family members in this time.

“It’s been interesting at times, but we’re back now and we very much hope for some stability from now on.

“When things changed we looked to see what we could do to see whether we could reopen.

“But due to the size of the pub, each time there was no real way of keeping people apart.

“This meant we could never reopen.

“Each time the rules were changed again.”

Karl had to spent a lot of his savings keeping afloat while the pub was closed.

Staff were initially put on furlough but when the support from the government was reduced, Karl said he had no choice but to lay the staff off in August of last year.

Now, he said, they have been rehired and the boozer, which was formerly the famous Hobgoblin pub, is now looking to the future.

Drinkers at the Alehouse celebrate reopening after 16 months
Drinkers at the Alehouse celebrate reopening after 16 months
(Image: BerkshireLive – Grahame Larter)

He said: “Now, we’re open. We’ll have hand sanitiser in place and we’d ask people to sign in with the app QR code because I think that is the right thing to do.

“I won’t lie, it’s been difficult, but we’ve made it through, and what I hope now is we have some stability.

“That’s what everyone wants, to be able to move forward.”

Sign up for our newsletter and get the top stories from BerkshireLive delivered straight to your inbox

GetReading – Food & Drink Windsor