Sunday, 15 January 2012

Robinson’s retreat

Stockport family brewer Robinson’s have historically been reluctant to abandon their tied pubs until it has become clear they have become completely unviable. However, recently they seem to have adopted a more pragmatic approach to rationalisation. The Grove and the Woodman in Hazel Grove – where Robinson’s have a near-monopoly – have been surrendered to the ASDA development, and the White Swan in Fallowfield, the crucible of the Stockport & South Manchester Branch of CAMRA, has been sold to a third party who until now have continued to operate it as a pub.

In the past few weeks news has come through that they have closed the Royal Oak on High Street in Stockport town centre – scene of this unhappy episode – and the imposing Bull’s Head on Stockport Market Place. The Royal Oak had obviously been a “dead man walking” for some time, and the Bull’s Head has never really seemed to find a niche in the twenty-seven years I’ve lived in Stockport.

It is an impressive building, and you do wonder whether, in such a central location, some other pub owner could not make a go of it. However, the once-thriving Market Place drinking scene is now a shadow of its former self, with Bambooza (formerly Yates’s) and Sam’s Bar firmly closed and the Pack Horse seemingly struggling. The town’s centre of drinking gravity seems to have switched more to the Crown – Magnet axis further west.

Most of the dead wood in the local Robinson’s estate now seems to have been culled – but you do have to wonder whether further pruning might be on the cards. There are one or two pubs in the general Marple/Bredbury/Romiley area that appear a bit run-down and underappreciated.


  1. That's disappointing news. The Red Bull seemed to be doing quite well for a couple of years, then a change of management down the line it's closed.

  2. No, the Red Bull is still going great guns - this is the Bull's Head on the Market Place.

  3. Err yes, that's what I meant, oops...!

  4. Robinsons still have a wide selection of crap hole pubs. The cull isn't over yet. Same goes for Hydes & Lees.

    In 10 years it will be a chain of restaurants and they will wonder why they have a brewery and close it.


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