Yes, we know we've written similar headlines in the past, but this time we have some detailed news that's confirmed at source and very exciting...
The Talbot is about to receive a major refurbishment from the people behind The Herne and The Palmerston - two outstanding south east London pubs.
Last week, we received an email from BC reader Michael, who told us that Palmerston Partners would be taking over as licensees in January. Coming on the same day that we learned that Portland's plans for Homeview were rejected, we were almost overcome with excitement. Still, we sat on the news until we had had it confirmed.
Fortunately, we spoke with Palmerston this morning, who gave us some details. The necessary caveat is that they are still agreeing terms and finalising their plans for the pub, but they were able to tell us the following:
- The Talbot will remain "a proper pub" that they hope regulars will still enjoy
- They want to reflect the character of the area and don't plan to copy either of their other pubs
- However, it will be given a complete overhaul, including a new kitchen, a refit upstairs, new exterior front and back and work inside to open up the bar area
- There is also a lot of work to be done on improving the building infrastructure, to bring it up to modern standards
- The food will be "quality but simple" fare, locally sourced and cooked on the premises
- They do hope to take over in January 2008, with the new-look pub open by the spring
- At this point, they are still debating whether to keep the name. They are looking in to its history (if anyone can help here, it would be much appreciated) to see whether it's of any particular significance. The alternative is to rename it, to emphasise that it is a very different proposition from the current place
We sympathise to an extent with those people who currently enjoy The Talbot and worry that a revamp will compromise its appeal, but it will still serve beer (probably better beer, too), you will still be able to talk to your mates and it will still look and feel like a pub. But hopefully, it will be a pub that more than a handful of people will enjoy and one with a long-term future that doesn't involve terminal decline.
We think this is exactly what The Talbot and Brockley need. They didn't use the word gastropub, but that's clearly what the Herne and the Palmerston are and what The Talbot will become. For some, the term is anathema, but they are wrong. And there are plenty of alternatives for those who prefer their food delivered by the lorry load and reheated to order.
The prospective landlords have pledged to keep us up to speed as their plans progress.
Thanks to Michael and to the Palmerston.