The chance to work for a start-up company running a neighbourhood pub in Stoke Newington was more than Tim Shanks could resist.
The 37-year-old has amassed almost 20 years of experience in pub management, having started as an apprentice with Bass Taverns fresh out of school. He ran pubs with huge capacities in York and Leeds before moving to London and working in Notting Hill and Wandsworth.
“I saw an advert in The Caterer for someone to run The Prince and it sounded like the right fit for me”, said Tim. “I had been working in big companies and this grabbed me because it was a start-up. I had lived in Stokey before for four years, so I knew the area well.”
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"...it was ridiculous; every man and his dog was there on our opening night. We were well prepared though"
Tim, who is General Manager of The Prince in Kynaston Road and a shareholder, was appointed by Golden Age Pubs - a new business established by Patrick Marling and marketing expert Leo Walton. They share a dream of revitalising Britain’s Edwardian and Victorian pubs. The Prince was the first pub they’d ever run, and Tim’s knowledge of the industry was invaluable.
The trio spent three months planning the look and feel of the pub, stripping out the old interior and searching antiques sales for fixtures and fittings. They opened The Prince in June 2014.
Tim added: “We decided to go for a soft launch so didn’t advertise the date we planned to open but somehow word got around - it was ridiculous; every man and his dog was there on our opening night. We were well prepared though – apart from the fact the glass washer broke and we had to wash everything by hand.”
“We’ve learnt a little about what the pub used to be like. It was once split into three separate rooms - a section where the local police used to drink, a middle area for the families and the gangsters drank in the back.”
Built in the late 1800s, the pub offers delicious seasonal food and locally-produced real ales and craft beers. It offers live music every Sunday evening and the room upstairs has become a popular community space; hosting yoga, life drawing, chess and a choir.
(Through the ages. From left to right: Pawnbrokers Lane (Later Kynaston Rd) 1861 looking West to the later Oldfield Rd junction, The Prince of Wales (now The Prince) 1962, then 1988. Source-www.stokenewingtonhistory.com)
Tim lives above the pub with his wife Sarah, who works in finance, and their two-year-old daughter Ivy.
He said: “There are real benefits to living above a family pub – it’s a nice space to have as part of your home. Ivy is so good around people and so confident – it’s great to have all of your friends on the doorstep. And Sarah sometimes phones and asks us to send a glass of prosecco up!”
Its regulars have stuck with them through the changes and include a local who has been drinking there for over 20 years; he even has a drink named in his honour.
“We’ve learnt a little about what the pub used to be like”, said Tim. It was once split into three separate rooms - a section where the local police used to drink, a middle area for the families and the gangsters drank in the back.”
Golden Age Pubs have since acquired The Royal Oak in Marylebone, which Tim also runs.
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