I thought it might be helpful to provide further clarification on the situation at the Bath, and a bit more thought on the upcoming arrangement for Thornbridge to run it.
I spoke to Brian last night, which was quite a job because he was very busy, receiving congratulations on what he had done with the pub, best wishes, and fielding questions. He was happy to take time to chat and keen on providing me with reassurances about the future of the pub, and most importantly its interior. Here's what I know...
1.Thornbridge are going to run the pub. They are already doing work in the cellar and will be putting their beers on the bar.
2. Brian will continue to own the pub. He has the say on what they do with the interior.
3. Which of course, as previously discussed, is Grade II listed, so there's very little Thornbridge can do.
4. They will be adding a lick of paint.
5. They will take over the running on Monday - but I have a feeling it might not be open until Tuesday - best ring to check.
6. Brian is off to pastures new (couldn't pin down any specifics on this, but I think its highly unlikely we'll see him in the pub again, but that's just a feeling I get).
In terms of what I think, I don't mind admitting that I love the interior of the Bath Hotel so much that I don't even want the colours to change! I know this seems a little weird, but its important to appreciate just how rare a survival the pub is in South Yorkshire. Sheffield, in particular, has always seemed to have had had ignorant, ill-informed, blinkered and disinterested future fanboys for councillors, so almost no old buildings of significance have escaped the wrecking ball. Maybe this skews my outlook, but it adds weight to the gravity of any threat to the Bath's design and architectural integrity.
Also, it would appear that Tetley will no longer be sold at the Bath Hotel. I will have a look at the link on Gettothepub.com later to see if Thornbridge have mentioned any specifics. Am not a Tetley fan, but I think you'd have to go back many decades to find an era when Tetley hasn't been sold. This seems a shame, and if it turns out that's what happens, then it suggests a lack of knowledge about the job of running the Bath by its new incumbents.
Finally, why are Thornbridge doing this?
I still don't know. Its not like they are short of bar coverage in Sheffield. You can get their beers in the Bee Hive 5 minutes away as well as the Wick at Both Ends, The Great Gatsby and the Devonshire Cat. We're not in a Thornbridge drought in that part of the City, nor indeed in any part of Sheffield. I know of one long standing regular who is intending to make Sunday his last visit. Admittedly I don't know if this is a problem he has with their beers, prices, or the company themselves.
Which makes you wonder if therein lies the only plausible answer. Maybe they want to shake off their (admittedly not widespread) bad image, by running the Bath as an even better pub (which I seriously doubt) and showing that they can be considerate, sensitive careful wards of this fine building.
Lets face it, we'll know by next week.