Much-loved Hitchin pub to open again – but another is on lookout for new landlords

Locals have their festive drinks outside the Sir John Barleycorn which is set to repoen in March.

Locals have their festive drinks outside the Sir John Barleycorn which is set to repoen in March. - Credit: Archant

A Christmas wish looks like coming true for diehard pub regulars who gathered to toast the future outside a deserted Hitchin pub.

The Sir John Barleycorn will definitely be opening up again in March, pub bosses confirmed this week.

But elsewhere in the town a pub which won approval from beer fans after a major revamp is now on the lookout for new landlords.

At the Barleycorn in Oughtonhead Lane, which shut last summer, regulars gathered on Christmas Day to have a drink outside their favourite watering hole.

And after hearing the good news from operators Punch Taverns, Rob Rees – one of the Christmas Day crew – said: “To have the Barleycorn open again in March would be fantastic. I know many people in the area would support it.

“It certainly does have the potential to feel like a village pub.

“I hope Punch are true to their word and I hope we can continue the Christmas Day tradition – but I also hope this is the one and only year we need to provide our own drink!”

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Punch Taverns said this week: “We have earmarked more than £100,000 to invest in the pub with a view to starting on site in February – we hope to re-open to the public in March.”

But another landmark Hitchin pub is to see a change of landlord at The Bricklayers Arms in Queen Street because Mike Desquesnes and Martin Ayres, are calling time on the recently-revamped venue.

The pub has won widespread praise from the town’s drinkers and has regularly hosted charity events over the past year.

Mike told the Comet: “It just hasn’t worked out.

“Whether it was to do with the pub being in the wrong location or lots of competition in the town I don’t know – but we leave with happy memories.”

A spokesman for owners Charles Wells confirmed: “As the current operators will be leaving The Bricklayers Arms we are looking for new licensees to run this great local pub.

“It will remain open in the meantime, and anyone who would like to find out more about the business opportunity can do so on our website or get in touch with us directly.”