Landlords seek to turn around pub’s bad fortune

By Robert Mann contact

- Last updated on GMT

Raising the bar: publicans Max Aben and Rosi Lawrence hope to turn around a failed pub
Raising the bar: publicans Max Aben and Rosi Lawrence hope to turn around a failed pub
At a time when it is claimed 18 pubs are closing for good each week, one couple is taking the plunge to reverse the fortunes of a failed pub.

This year, the "once-booming" Jolly Poacher pub in Ditchling Road, Brighton, east Sussex, became another statistic towards the pub closure crisis happening across the UK. 

Now rebranded as the Roundhill, new landlords Max Aben and Rosi Lawrence, say they were “overjoyed” and “determined” to be given the chance to take the reins at the pub.

“Before we took on the Roundhill, I managed a very successful pub for seven years,” Aben said.

“We attended a few community meetings, got to know a lot of the local people and found out exactly what they wanted from their local pub.

“We hope with our vegan food, selection of real ales, and relaxed drinking and eating environment will make it a success for people to come from further afield and hope that, ultimately, people in the area will use their local pub once again."

Before taking on the venue, the pub was originally called the Roundhill Tavern, but had its name changed to the Jolly Poacher by its previous owners. 

Lawrence said it was a “no-brainer” to revert back to its original moniker.

“From experience, we knew that relaunching it with an original name would signal a great statement of intent with the locals,” Lawrence explained.

“We looked into the history and it became clear we had to rename it because we’re hoping we can give the community their pub back.”

With pub closures still a sad reality in this day of age, Aben says he is relishing the opportunity to beat the stigma.

“There are a lot of pub closures happening in the UK, but the south-east also had a lot of pubs reopening, which is a hugely encouraging sign,” he said.

“We wanted to create a living room away from home for people, with a really friendly atmosphere.

“A year ago we definitely didn’t think we would be here – it’s surreal but it just felt right and everyone has been so supportive."

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