Up and down the country more and more pubs are closing their doors to punters. With the pandemic and cost of living crisis affecting business, some pubs just can’t hack it anymore.
In 2020 JD Wetherspoon closed 16 of its pubs and in 2021 Greene King announced that it would also be closing some of its branches. In Reading, quite a few boozers have closed in the past year or so as well.
Three pubs in the town centre; The Bugle, The Sun Inn and the Horn have all closed fairly recently. With Reading Borough Council invested in the town’s regeneration, it will be interesting to see what becomes of the buildings.
While many may hope that the old pubs get a new lease of life, it’s not unheard of for a historical pub to be demolished. That being said, there are a few pubs in the area that have been closed for years and remain relatively untouched, but dilapidated i.e The Lower Ship Inn and The Rising Sun.
We’ve come up with a list of some of the ‘lost’ pubs in Reading and what seems to be happening to them now. Whilst one pub is set to turn into an Indian restaurant, another looks as though it could be absorbed into the plans to regenerate Friar Street.
Tiny pub that will become a part of town’s regeneration
The Bugle is a tiny pub located in the heart of Reading town centre on Friar Street. The two-roomed boozer was once a traditional Irish pub, but it seems to have closed its doors for good sometime this year.
Having been empty for at least a couple of months, the boozer could now be getting a new lease of life. Developers, Thackeray Group, received permission last year to redevelop a part of Friar Street.
The group now wants to absorb the art deco rear of WH Smiths and the Bugle into these plans. Detailed plans regarding the pub’s future have not yet been revealed.
The not yet ‘lost’ pub set to become an Indian restaurant
The Baron Cadogan pub in Caversham was once a JD Wetherspoon. The pub was meant to close its doors on Sunday, March 24, 2019, but was then taken over by an independent landlord.
The pub re-opened later that year and sells a wide variety of lagers and food. While it seems that the pub is still open and therefore not yet a “lost pub”, Reading restaurant Clay’s Kitchen announced in March that they had signed the lease for the pub.
In a Twitter post, they said: “Looks like the cat’s out of the bag. And yes, we did go and sign the lease for the Baron of Cadogan in Caversham. It will be Clay’s very soon.”
The 17th-century pub that closed this May
The Sun Inn which sits on Castle Street in Reading town centre closed for good this May. Lovingly referred to as the “grubby palace” the pub was a mainstay for local drinkers.
Plenty of people were sad to see the pub go, especially because of its history. The pub had been around since the 1700s and it was thought to feature underground stables that were used to house horses – before carriages had been replaced by motor vehicles. Nothing much is currently happening to the pub as it’s only recently closed, but this could be set to change.
The empty pub that was meant to be demolished years ago
The Rising Sun was once a much-loved LGBTQ+ friendly pub, located next to Reading train station. The town’s most well-known gay bar, unfortunately, closed on November 29, 2014.
Following its closure, the pub was meant to be demolished five years ago in 2017. The plans didn’t detail what would be done with the space after demolition and as of yet the demolition work still hasn’t taken place. For now, it seems that the pub will remain as one of Berkshire’s many lost and empty pubs.
The pub that looks ready to be renovated
The Horn sits nearby to the Sun Inn on the road that joins Castle Street to St Mary’s Butts. Back in, June of last year the pub closed for good after Star Pubs and Bars made the decision to not renew their lease.
At the time Alan and Sandra Bleeks, who ran the Horn, posted a goodbye message on their social media pages. It read: “It’s with sadness that we say goodnight to all our lovely customers over the years.
“We have had a blast with all of you and although our lease has run out, and Star Pubs lease has too, it had meant so much that you all have supported us through everything. As much as we would have loved to stay on, it is not to be. We have loved every minute of our time at The Horn and wish you all the best.”
The future of the pub is unknown but there are currently scaffolding works at the site, suggesting some type of renovation.
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