IAN HART: Farewell to the Downview – and it won’t be the last...

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

An end of an era on Sunday, when the Downview public house closed its doors for the last time.

Yet another victim of the shifting sands of Worthing’s pub community.

Sentiment aside, and there has been a lot of that on social media in the last few days, pubs close because people don’t use them, and the Downview has been no different.

For the managed houses, good food and live music is the key, while the few ‘free-of-tie’ establishments have the advantages when buying stock in an extremely competitive, almost cut-throat market.

The Downview didn’t necessarily tick all the right boxes but it was a great place to watch live football.

I will never forget the night the place rocked in 1996 when England beat the Netherlands 4-1.

But even with almost blanket live TV coverage of football on Sky and BT Sport, one, two or maybe three good days a week perhaps isn’t enough to keep any establishment going long term.

The landlord or landlady can be another key factor in pubs’ success.

The likes of Tony Hills, Mike Shiel, Alan Walker, Angie Deeprose, James Lanz and Greg Grundy do well in their respective establishments because of the aforementioned factors and more.

When the news broke at the end of last week, it destroyed at least one local urban myth – for many years I and many others were under the now-incorrect belief that the Downview would be one of the last pubs to shut because of a long-standing covenant which stated it had to remain a pub.

Clearly this either never existed, has expired or has quietly been removed – a bit like the delisting of the old Odeon cinema in Liverpool Gardens or using the Manor Ground as a school playing field!

Sadly, The Downview won’t be the last to close its doors, and you do wonder which will be the next to go.

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