07 February 2022

‘England’s oldest pub’ to reopen as soon as possible after closing due to Covid

07 February 2022

An award-winning pub thought to be the oldest in England is expected to reopen “as soon as possible” after going into administration due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Christo Tofalli, 53, who has run Ye Olde Fighting Cocks near Verulamium Park in St Albans, Hertfordshire, for 10 years, said he has been left “heartbroken” after the pub “succumbed to Covid” and closed its doors on Friday.

Mr Tofalli told the PA news agency on Monday: “I’m gutted. I have been very sad.

“It has been heartbreaking for me and it has been heartbreaking for the staff, many of whom have been working here since the beginning.”

However, Mr Tofalli confirmed there was a “120%” likelihood that the pub would reopen again.

He said a new leaseholder will likely take over the pub, which is under the freehold of hospitality giant Mitchells and Butlers.

“I’m working very hard with administrations to make sure that it opens as soon as possible for the customers,” he added.

“It is more important to get the pub wrapped up properly and sensibly and make the least impact to it as possible.”

On an exact timescale, Mr Tofalli said it may be a matter of weeks or it could be longer depending on the administration process.

He added that they want to make sure that “whoever takes over will know what synergy we had in the pub and what it means to St Albans”.

The pub’s website says its foundations incorporate part of the Palace of Offa, who was king of the Mercians, dating from about 793.

Meanwhile, the current building, which has an octagonal design, was built later in the 11th century.

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