TWO Warwick pubs have closed in the last three weeks as landlords packed up and left - in one case with hardly any notice.
Most prominent was The Tilted Wig in Market Place, always a popular venue during markets and other open-air events like the annual folk festival.
Licensee Charles Melly decided to move away from the area and put the leasehold up for sale for £125,000 with commercial estate agents Guy Simmonds.
Since then Punch Taverns, which owns the freehold, has taken the pub off the market and will re-advertise for new leaseholders themselves following a refurbishment.
Not too far away, The Elephant and Castle, in Emscote Road, suddenly closed its doors without notice.
As the key was misplaced this left representatives of Enterprise Inns trying to break in to regain vacant possession. People living nearby saw efforts being made to force the lock but could only speculate on why the licensee had left so abruptly.
The pub dates back to 1851 and used to be called The Simple Simon because at one stage it was owned by Mr Brookes of the Fleur De Lys pie factory over the road.
On Tuesday a spokeswoman for Enterprise Inns said the publican had decided to cease trading and they hoped to resume as soon as a new one could be appointed.
At the Tilted Wig a spokesman for Punch Taverns explained that while the licensees had put the lease on the eight-bedroomed three-storey Georgian building up for sale, they had no plans to sell the freehold.
He added: “The pub has been closed for the last three weeks but we are working towards re-opening the site as soon as possible and, to provide a new start, also developing plans for refurbishment.”
Steve Ridgeway, managing director of The Slaughterhouse Brewery which supplied both pubs, said: “We are all hoping the next budget will stop the beer duty escalator of the past few years.
“It is three per cent above inflation and there is a big campaign by both CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) and the Society of Independent Brewers to stop it going up again - people only have so much disposable income.”