Landlady Fiona calls last orders at The Lion

The licensee of a popular pub in Cliftonwood has closed its doors for the final time – but locals hope to save it. 

Fiona Vincent and her family have run The Lion in Church Lane for 16 years but now say have now found it a “struggle”  

 She said:  “We have struggled trying to make ends meet since the Covid pandemic and the cost of living crisis. I have run The Lion on a lease agreement and I am tied as to which suppliers I buy my drinks from. It’s a higher price than if The Lion was not a tied house”

Meanwhile, regulars at the pub and members of the local community are running a campaign aimed at buying the pub’s freehold and taking over the pub. 

David Gilroy, who lives in Cliftonwood and has been a regular at the pub said:  “The community is trying to fund-raise to to acquire the freehold from Stonegate, the operators of the pub. It’s likely that we are going to have to raise between £500,000 and £600, 000 to buy the freehold and turn The Lion into a community pub.                   

“We feel that the pub would be better run as a community asset and opened up for more use than just food and drink.

“Also, the tied contract with the pub company who own it is pretty punchy in terms of the rent and the cost of beer in the ‘tie’ and that impacts the prices that consumers pay.”

Mr Gilroy added: “We have now received notice from Bristol City Council that The Lion has been designated as an Asset of Community Value.” This means that if a community group wants to buy the asset, they can trigger a six month moratorium to give them a chance to prepare a bid for it. During this period, the owner cannot sell their property on the open market.

The Lion is owned by the UK’s largest pub operator, Stonegate, which has  been approached for comment.