The 90-cover pub, under the Enterprise Inns lease, was bought by Nick Gibson for an undisclosed sum, after Gordon Ramsay Holdings closed the venue in June 2010 as a result of a ‘struggling pub market.’
Less than a year later, The Devonshire Arms has closed again and is to be re-sold, as Gibson explained it was unable to capture the imagination of the local community.
“We were a great pub in every sense,” he told BigHospitality. “The feedback we receive on review websites was as good as, if not better than, the feedback we get at our sister pub, The Drapers Arms (in Islington - Gibson's latest venue). People loved the food and the drink, but sadly not enough people made their way here.
“Sure, if people were going out twice as much as they are because they had more money, or the booze from supermarkets was more expensive, then obviously that would help. But ultimately people need to walk in the door and I can’t just blame it on the Chancellor.”
Upon the opening, Gibson had said: “I don’t know why Gordon Ramsay failed – it’s a good site. I’ll be paying 100 per cent attention.”
He spent over £200k on refurbishing the venue and hiring new staff. David Philpot, former senior chef of Caprice Holdings’ Le Caprice and The Ivy, led the kitchen as head chef, while Ryan Hayward, formerly of Sophie’s Steakhouse, ran the front-of-house.
Gibson said the closure is a ‘very sad day’, although he went on to reveal that the pubs financial difficulties had been clear for a while.
“I’ve always been very transparent in sharing my accounts with the staff,” he added. “We knew how much money we were losing and that wasn’t something that couldn’t carry on doing. I’m desperately sad for the staff that we've had to sack, but there are no guarantees in this industry.
“I hope it doesn’t now turn into a place that just sells pre-packaged food - that would be really sad. I hope someone feels that they can compete with the high street and take the pub on.”