Hopes Berkeley Hotel could reopen after shock closure by Samuel Smith brewery

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 31 Jan 2019

There are hopes one of Scunthorpe's best known pubs could re-open after it shocked customers by closing suddenly with no explanation.

Brewery Samuel Smith has refused to comment on why The Berkeley Hotel closed on Monday.

The brewery is known for being tight-lipped about its business and how it operates the 200 traditional pubs its owns around the country.

But the Berkeley Hotel closure comes after Smith's dismissed the landlord and landlady who ran another one of it's pubs in Scunthorpe.

In August 2017 Gary and Jeanette Ellis, managers at the Open Hearth, left the pub after 11 years in charge after losing their appeal to Samuel Smith to remain in charge. The Tadcaster-based brewery refused to discuss why they had been told to leave.

After the closure of the Berkeley Hotel, the pub's locks had been changed and the only indication of what had happened was a handwritten sign reading simply 'Closed' on the front door.

This sign appeared on the hotel yesterday afternoon (Image: Scunthorpe Live)

Landlords Shane and Theresa Hodkin took over the pub in 2008. When Scunthorpe Live spoke to them on Wednesday, the couple said they couldn't speak about their reasons for leaving and suggested contacting the owner, Samuel Smith Brewery.

Samuel Smith has also been known to close pubs and then re-open them a short time later with new managers or after unannounced reburbishments.

The art deco pub on Berkeley Circle was one of the town's oldest and is very popular with Scunthorpe United fans on match days at nearby Glanford Park.

Customers experessed their shock at the sudden closure.

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One longtime regular at the pub said: "I was in there on Friday night and there didn't seem anything amiss. I tried to go in there again on Tuesday, only to find it had closed!"

Other local pub owners also said they were surprised if the pub was no longer viable.

The manager of one nearby pub said: "I only found out it had closed today, it came as a bit of a surprise. It's always really busy on football days - with a bit of luck, some of those customers might come to us."

Another described it as a "complete shock" for the historic pub.

One customer writing on our Facebook site said: "Smiths will soon have someone else in and it will reopen."

And 'Emma Louise' said: "Whilst it might appear a quiet pub from the outside it's probably ticked over nicely for some time. Hopefully they will put fresh blood in there. The place has so much potential, food, football days, function room, beer garden, bar, plus hotel rooms, its in a prime location on a big estate where locals still like to go out to a local pub, not a food chain pub."

The locks on the hotel door appear to have been changed (Image: Scunthorpe Live)

The pub, which was built in 1940, is known for its distinctive art deco style and is named after a former mayor of Scunthorpe.

People who have enjoyed a pint in the Berkeley over the years have commiserated on Facebook over the place which was once the "classiest hotel in town".

Another customer said: "Don’t know why people slate this pub, it sells good beer and was somewhere the older generation went to socialise. It was always a good atmosphere.

"It's in a prime spot and always busy for home games. Let's hope they soon find new managers."

Another said: "I hope whoever gets it keeps the art deco features and doesn't rip them out to make a bland photocopied chain pub."

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Others have expressed fear about the building's future.

Paula Baldwin said: "In the late fifties and the sixties, it was regarded as the classiest hotel in town. There was a dance every Saturday night in the ballroom.

"The Berkeley was by far the best looking building but under-investment inevitably turned it into a poorly presented pub. Unless someone with a million pound budget and a modern, upmarket business plan, I fear there is no hope for it."

Tongue-in-cheek suggestions as to future uses for it included a "German sports bar" and a "Tesco Express".

The pub is one of several Samuel Smith-licensed premises in Scunthorpe, which are known for not having live music or TVs.

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