I visited a pub the other day that was recently up for auction but had been sold prior to that auction. Now this pub had been built about 1872 and for most of its life had been owned by local brewers Phillips of Newport and, later on by Courage who had bought Phillips. I can remember it as a busy Courage pub, selling a lot of beer, 17-20 18-gallon kils of beer a week, that was just cask beer, not including the lagers or cider. Ever since it was owned by a pub company the decline started though, the beer range changed, with resulting loss of custom, money was not spent on the upkeep of the building etc and the place just got worse. Luckily a new company has bought the pub and leased it to an old hand in the pub business. A refurbishment is ongoing at the moment and I recently visited the pub and had a chance to see the building site of the front bar. The entire bar length has had to be scrapped, along with the floorboards as these have proven to be rotten - the problem was the drainage pipes behind the bar had been leaking for years and this had led to both the wooden bar and floorboards being eaten away by rot. Now I've seen some premises in poor conditions over the years but this was definitely one of the worst. How a succession of managers and the Pub Company never noticed these problems and allowed them to get out of hand is beyond me? Do Pubcos even care about the state of their premises? From what I saw I doubt it.
On the bright side, the new owner has already installed a handpump in the bar in the backroom and will be opening the rest of the pub soon, it even has its own smoking solution in the form of an alleyway and back garden, a rarity in the centre of Newport. I'll do a more in depth review when the refurbishment is complete.
So here's looking forward to the next 140 years of the Ivy Bush in Clarence Place, Newport. The future for the place looks a lot better than the last 15 years.