This 1,000-year-old British Pub Is Pouring Its Last Pint

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks has been in business since 793 AD.

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Bartender's hands holding pint of beer as tap pours
Photo: Charlotte Tattersall (Getty Images)

Remember a few weeks ago when I proclaimed my intention to manage a pub on a remote English isle? Well, that gig’ll have to wait—Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, an English pub that claims to be the oldest in Britain, needs my help. The pub is closing due to financial struggles made worse by the pandemic, CNN reports.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is located in St. Albans, just north of London. According to the pub’s website, operations began as early as 793 AD. Yes, readers, those cocks have been goin’ at it for centuries. During that time, the main structure has served as a pigeon house, cock fighting ring, and refuge to famous Englishmen including Oliver Cromwell. Unfortunately, the pub has now closed its doors “after a sustained period of extremely challenging trading conditions,” according to a statement from landlord Christo Tofalli, posted on the pub’s Facebook page last Friday.

The pub circa 1937
The pub circa 1937
Photo: The Print Collector/Print Collector (Getty Images)
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“Along with my team, I have tried everything to keep the pub going,” Tofalli wrote in the post. “However, the past two years have been unprecedented for the hospitality industry, and have defeated all of us who have been trying our hardest to ensure this multi-award-winning pub could continue trading into the future.”

As CNN points out, Britain’s pub industry was struggling even before the pandemic. CNN cites the UK’s Office for National Statistics, which asserts that more than 11,000 pubs closed their doors between 2008 and 2018.

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Fortunately, this may not be the end for Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. CNN checked in with a spokesperson for Mitchells & Butlers, the brewery that owns the premises. “We can confirm that sadly our tenants at Ye Old Fighting Cocks have appointed administrators but can reassure locals that this is not the end for the pub,” the spokesperson told CNN in a statement. “We are currently exploring all opportunities for the site’s future and hope to reopen the pub under new management as soon as possible.”

You can take away my money, and you can take away my dignity, but don’t you dare take away my Fighting Cocks.

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Cheers, mates.