Fancy running Charlton’s Bugle Horn pub?

The Bugle Horn - © Chris Whippet and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The Bugle Horn – © Chris Whippet and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

After all the kerfuffle over the White Swan, Charlton village’s oldest pub, the Bugle Horn, is looking for new management – the current bosses are stepping down next month.

A beautiful building in a decent location – you could be onto a winner. Although you’d have to work with Punch Taverns, which owns the place.

And the listing doesn’t really go out to sell its potential…

“An authentic village pub in the heart of south-east london. Set in a part of the capital with a genuinely ‘villagey’ feel, the Bugle Horn is a favourite with fans of Charlton Athletic. The pub was formed from three 18th century cottages were melded to make a public house, but it has a much more contemporary feeling today thanks to fresh paintwork and signage – the colours hint at the allegiances of the pub…”

A pub that’s only going to get customers for 25 days a year, then?

“The incoming operator will be looking to establish a more balanced ‘rhythm of the week’ that will attract families, after-work drinkers and occasion diners to sample the pub’s wares, in terms of food as well as ale.”

That’s more like it.

“There’s a function room which could be promoted to better effect, in conjunction with the commercial kitchen, and the 15-space car park is a real boon in a part of town where parking can be at a premium.”

I can think of better things to do with the car park than have cars. Host a market?

“However, the new angle for the Bugle Horn should be an appeal that goes beyond sport: there is the opportunity to drive a food-led push, so an operator with experience within catering will see ways in which to turn their ideas into reality. Charlton is a pretty part of London with a real village feel to it – there is a heated lido and sports centre for fun and fitness and the housing is varied and affordable – for now. The area is undergoing an explosion in popularity which is attracting more affluent folks to the area – and as that continues, they’ll be pleased to find a spot to eat, as food outlets are thin on the ground in Charlton Village. Transport-wise, you can be at London Bridge Station in less than 20 minutes.”

With the White Swan poised for new ownership, and the Bugle looking for new management, are we about to see big changes for our local pubs? Or will things stay no more imaginative than karaoke and football on Sky? Your thoughts on what the Bugle could offer would be appreciated.

8 thoughts on “Fancy running Charlton’s Bugle Horn pub?

  1. BL April 15, 2015 / 13:30

    Hopefully we might get a pub that sells good food!

    What is the latest with the white swan?

  2. JJNSE7 April 15, 2015 / 16:05

    Perhaps its just the way i read it but the listing seems to have a whif of light hearted irony (perhaps lakcing in the actual pub itself) as if it were written on Friday afternoon before heading to the pub.

    With the White Swan under new ownership, hopefully as a pub and the Bugle under a new lease it will be interesting to see how the two develop. Both seem to have potential to be much nicer than they currently are so i hope that at least one can adjust its business model and appeal to a slightly different demographic. gentrification of pubs alwasys to be quite a contentious subject so perhaps i’ll say that it would be nice to have something along the lines of the Antic model. My concern would be the extent to which any new tenants would be constrained by Punch, when i have previously asked if the Bugle could stock any local beers i was told that they were constrained to the ‘punch’ selection.

    I think the idea of a market in the car park is a great one, i’ve often though that a food market in the Charlton House car park would be lovely and Brockley Market and the Lewisham model market demonstrate that these don’t need to be confined to the smartest areas to thrive.

  3. Chris April 16, 2015 / 11:32

    The White Swan was blaring out music at about a million decibels yesterday evening. And there was a drunk woman tottering around on the road outside — she very nearly nutted a 486.
    Not the way to attract custom.
    Punch Taverns are their own worst enemies when it comes to beer selection. Time for a change in the law!

  4. J Mark Dodds April 20, 2015 / 11:27

    Chris, you are absolutely right about Punch.

    And there is a change in the law coming, it’s called the Market Rent Only option for Tied Tenants and I’m one of the people who helped make that happen. I’m also one of the people on the White Swan steering committee. We were stymied by Punch selling the WS freehold, apparently ‘as a going concern’ to get around the Asset of Community Value strictures which I am absolutely sure would have been open to legal challenge if we had any resources other than voluntary to put into the pot before we began fund raising for the money to put an offer in on behalf of the Charlton Community.

    The White Swan as it is certainly is NOT a going concern – with a Holding Company operating it it’s absolutely clear that a Coach and Horses has been driven through the legislation that is supposed to protect pubs in these circumstances and allow the locals to ‘save’ them. What kind of company would buy the White Swan as a ‘going concern’ without expecting to shut it and then spend at least half a million quid on it making it fit for purpose as a pub again? There are precedents for a pub company taking on such a pub in such parlous state and making it work properly – the Tulse Hill Tavern is one recent such foray. Was Enteprise, run into the ground, on the market for a couple of £million and Metropolitan Pub Company ( aka Greene King) bought it and turned it round into something half decent although their range of ales is odd… IF they are the people who bought WS then HOORAY but I doubt it somehow. It just doesn’t smell right. Something fishy is going on there I reckon. Hope to be proved wrong.

    As for the Bugle Horn? Now there is a Pub with ENORMOUS potential. If it were not tied it would be a very different situation. Their ham eggs and chips are great value by the way. The family who’ve owned a lease on the pub and run it for a very long time don’t deserve to be in the situation they’re in. But like thousands of publicans before them and all over the country they had the misfortune to be caught up in the work of a bunch of asset stripping white collar criminals who don’t give a toss about pubs or anything other than money. There’s possibly even more pent up potential at the Bugle Horn than there is at the White Swan but as a toxic Punch Taverns’ lease assignment? Barge Poles. Punch is poison.

    • ThePirateKing April 20, 2015 / 12:56

      Hello Mark –

      I’m not sure at all that the Swan needs “half a million” spent on it.

      It just needs to be run properly.

      • J Mark Dodds April 21, 2015 / 17:37

        It’s got to pay a £1 million mortgage

      • J Mark Dodds April 21, 2015 / 18:48

        Oh, and upstairs is completely uninhabitable.

  5. Boneyboy April 30, 2015 / 13:39

    Its just outside Charlton, but I see the Royal Standard is having a make over. I have never found the Standard’s offer particularly appealing, and can only hope that there is a major transformation of drink, food and decor.

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