The Podium Bar
The Podium Bar, the pop-up venture by the 24-strong Faucet Inn chain, was selling up to 4,000 pints every day and had to turn customers away because it had reached capacity during a number of days.
However, manager Frank Du Plessis said that he had expected to be busier. “It was absolutely crazy on some days,” he said. “We had to stop people coming in [as there were 1,000 people in already].
“We were getting between 2,500 and 3,000 people in every day, although we had been expecting between 6,000 and 8,000. We were expecting to be busier, but we can’t complain because I suppose there was nothing here before. The Brits know how to have a soiree in a pub. That is what we were trying to showcase here, that even though the weather isn’t always great, Britain still has some of the best beer gardens and that is essentially what we were — a beer garden.”
Du Plessis added that the bar had its fair share of athletes popping in, as well as commentators and celebrities. Being part of the Westfield shopping centre, he also noted issues with deliveries, which have to go through a main delivery system causing some delays of up to two days.
He said: “I agree with reports of problems with deliveries, but we had enough beer so we didn’t run dry. But there are some other products that we ran out of.”
The Railway Tavern
Janet Dooner, licensee of the Railway Tavern, admitted she was “very lucky” to be situated where she was for the duration of the Olympics.
Dooner, who is chair of Newham Pubwatch, saw an uplift in trade of about 40% as a result of the Games, but bemoaned the lack of tourists visiting her pub throughout the fortnight. “I had mainly back of house staff such as the volunteers, as well as athletes and trainers,” said Dooner. “I was a bit disappointed not to have got the tourists, but they had been herded into Westfield [shopping centre].”
However, Dooner added: “I think I was very lucky from where my business is situated — obviously we are opposite the athletes’ village. Overall trade since the opening ceremony was up by about 40%. The opening itself ceremony was way beyond our expectations. Our lunchtime trade was steady
and our best time was anywhere from about 7pm or 8pm until about 3am.
“As for the other pubs in the immediate area, the Westfield ones I know did very well, but the ones in the immediate area of Stratford town centre, I don’t think they had as many customers as they expected.”
The Cow and the Calf
Ed Turner, commercial director at Young’s, said the atmosphere at the Cow and pop-up venue the Calf had been “electric”. The sites operate under the 34-strong Geronimo Inns banner.
He said: “Everyone in Stratford had a cracking time. Both venues were very busy, the atmosphere was electric. The guys were working very hard. We had lots of athletes and lots of celebrities in. The whole atmosphere was so exciting, no one wanted to leave.
“Sales were very good, we were very pleased. We took the amount of money we had expected to take.” Turner explained that there has been some hiccups with deliveries. “Deliveries on the whole went well,” he said. “A couple of things went missing but it was fine. The Westfield [shopping centre] team were fantastic.”
He added that although there will be fewer events during the Paralympics, the venues will still be very busy. “People have enjoyed this and they will come back,” said Turner.
Craig Pritchard, assistant manager of the Stonegate owned Goose on Stratford’s Broadway, said it had been a “chaotic” fortnight, with the first week of the Games bringing a record-breaking 50% trade uplift for the pub.
Pritchard believes that the Paralympics will bring a further boost and that pubs in the area can be proud of the legacy they would have left for visitors. “I definitely think that it has showcased that all the pubs in the area can supply the demand of visitors into the Stratford area,” said Pritchard. “We are expecting a busier Paralympics than initially forecast. I think that has come probably off the back of the Olympics and the GB squad doing so well.
“We saw a massive uplift in sales, both wet and dry,” he added. “We do have quite a regular trade in here, but we have seen a lot of tourists, a lot of people that have got tickets for the Games but also people coming in who just wanted the experience of the Olympics, of just being in and around Stratford.
“Some of our locals weren’t too keen on it because they were worried about it being slightly overrun and it just being uncomfortable in Stratford, but it wasn’t too strenuous.”
Pritchard said he had no problems with deliveries during the Olympics because of the pub’s late licence. “We were fairly fortunate that they (delivery trucks) couldn’t get into the Olympic Park before 12 or 1am so they tended to park on back streets before going in. Even though our window was technically 10pm until 4am we tended to always get our deliveries between 10pm and 12 which was quite lucky for us.”
The Tap East
Daniel Barr, duty manager at brewpub Tap East, saw trade double in the week before the Olympics, and many of the athletes visited the pub during the Games. However, as the pub is based in the Westfield shopping centre, Barr estimated that trade dropped around 10% to 15% over the busiest weekend of the Games (3 – 4 August) when the centre was closed to the public.
He said: “The shopping centre was closed until 5pm on the Friday and Saturday but a lot of people stayed away in the evening, I think because they were told that it was closed all day. I think we probably lost trade through people not doing any late-night shopping.”
He added: “From lunchtimes, we were a lot busier. It was when the morning sessions ended at the Olympic park, and the afternoon session began. I think trade will drop off after the Games. It will leave a legacy here, but not for the pub trade.”
Barr also noted problems with deliveries — being located in the shopping centre, all deliveries have to go through a main delivery system. He added: “We didn’t have a problem with staff working late, most of them live nearby and were happy to take night-time deliveries.”