There was some friendly sparring behind the bar as independent family brewer and pub company Shepherd Neame’s newly refurbished West End pub the Tom Cribb was officially reopened last night (Tuesday, October 24).
Situated just off Leicester Square, the pub is named after bare-knuckle boxer Tom Cribb, who became a world champion and ran the pub when he retired from the sport, has undergone an £800,000 transformation.
The 18th century pub, which has boxing memorabilia displayed on its walls and a new function room named after Cribb’s great boxing rival Bill Richmond, kept its heritage alive with former WBA world champion boxer Barry McGuigan officially declaring the pub open to great cheers.
He was joined behind the bar by Chief Executive Jonathan Neame and up and coming professional boxer Alex Branson-Cole, who pulled no punches as he pulled the first pint.
Both boxers live near Faversham in Kent, where Shepherd Neame’s brewery is based.
Barry, known as the ‘Clones Cyclone’, who is former President of the Professional Boxing Association, said:
“I was delighted to be invited to join the team for the opening of this unique pub. It is very special now and always was, as far back as the 1800s, as Tom Cribb was one of the greatest fighters this country has ever produced. The pub is looking great and it was fantastic to see all the boxing memorabilia on show – including a photo from one of my own fights!”
Professional boxer Alex Branson-Cole is the first professional boxer from Faversham in more than 60 years. Jonathan Neame presented him with £1,500 on the night to mark the start of a new sponsorship agreement.
Alex, 30, who made his professional debut last year as a middleweight, said: “I grew up and still live in Faversham, so it is extremely special to have Shepherd Neame joining me on this journey. The brewery has a long history within the town and a great reputation – the positive impact it has on the town is incredible. I hope to add to that and inspire the younger generation. I’m excited for what the future holds.”
He added: “The Tom Cribb looks fantastic, and it is great to see all the boxing memorabilia on show. I’m really excited to begin this new partnership with Shepherd Neame and would like to thank Jonathan Neame and the team for their support.”
Jonathan Neame said: “It has been a labour of love for us at Shepherd Neame to conserve and restore this well-loved London pub to such a high standard. We were delighted to welcome boxing legend Barry, and up and coming boxing star Alex from our home town of Faversham to officially open the pub, helping to keep its unique boxing heritage alive.
“We are incredibly proud of the pub’s new look and offer, which is already proving popular with customers, and we look forward to welcoming many more through the doors.”