City Pride pub enjoys a stay of execution


City Pride staff are cautiously preparing for next year's London Marathon festivities.

Marathon day is traditionally the Westferry Road pub's busiest day of the year. But many believed April's event would be its last before it was closed to make way for Glenkerrin's 62-storey Pride development.

While Glenkerrin itself has not confirmed when it will need the watering hole to shut, manager Christine Bilde is hopeful that it will remain open for more than a year.

She said: "We were due to close in January but due to the decline that's been postponed indefinitely, so I'm just running the place as if we're not closing.

"When it happens, it happens, but I don't think anything will happen for a couple of years."

The City Pride's position on the 26.2 mile marathon route makes it a popular destination for Wharf spectators.

Christine said: "We do a very good summer week's trade in one day.

"The marathon day was amazing this year. It's the busiest we've had which is quite impressive considering the credit crunch."

The days of cheering on runners with a pint looked numbered when the site of the 1950s former dockers pub was bought by the Irish developer in April last year.

Plans for a residential and hotel development have subsequently been cleared by Tower Hamlets Council and the Mayor's office.

Christine knew the pub was to close when she took up the job in February last year. But the reprieve has allowed her to plan for summer and take bookings as normal. Operators Glendola Leisure is hoping the pub will have "a great summer".

In the coming months, the pub will be hosting several gigs by covers band Room3, with upcoming gigs on June 19, July 3, July 16 and July 31 featuring barbecue food from 6pm to 8.30pm.

The popular Kurryoke night will return on July 10, laying on a curry and a pint for £9.95 and a chance to warble to classic tracks.

Christine also plans to continue the express lunch deal, which has been offering customers a drink and a dish for a fiver since October.

She said: "It's a challenge, running a place that's closing and that everyone knows is closing. Obviously a lot of people are quite confused about whether we're closed and how long we might be open.

"I ran a nightclub in the West End before, which is very different.

"I wanted people to be able to come in and relax. Because we are where we are we get a bit of everything. We get the locals and the Canary Wharf suits. This is a place where people come to relax and get away from all the pretentiousness.

"There are a lot of regulars here. I know 80 per cent of people who come in here, and they know my name as well."

Go to