Social Media Buttons

Description

WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

What's new?

What's new?
We've just launched the first ever Beer Marketing Awards - click here for more details!
I'm doing a Masterclass in beer writing with the Guardian in February. Click to find our more.
My latest Publican's Morning Advertiser piece - some pub etiquette tips for Christmas visitors.
>

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Red Hand Part II

Later in the same magazine from which I scanned yesterday's pictures, there's another side entirely to the Ind Coope & Allsopp estate.

Yesterday's pics seemed to offer a window onto the golden age of the pub as a centre of the community. But this age was passing even as it was being recorded. A few pages on, we get a big feature on the new jewel in the company's crown: the Hotel Leofric in Coventry.

The magazine uses the word 'splendour' to describe it. What word would you use?


While it was being prepared for opening, the manager slept on a mattress on the floor. 300 men were working on it, and their wives were bussed in from Burton to do the cleaning.

Pride and joy is the silver grill, where you can select your steak and watch it cooking:

If you don't fancy that, there's the snack bar, boasting a quick counter meal and "the longest bar in the Midlands". This huge room is windowless, but "modern lighting and air-conditioning give it an all-the-year-round summer atmosphere".


My favourite bit though is the cocktail bar, with its "unusual wall decoration". Yes. Unusual. That's a good word. This "intimate yet opulent" setting features a "cosy lounge atmosphere with a delightful Emmet-type mural."

The thing is, last year I stayed in a hotel in Sheffield that looked pretty much identical to this one, clearly untouched for at least thirty years. It was so appalling, I went all the way through anger and disgust in a second, and came out the other side and actually enjoyed the tackiness, the sense of desolation, the broken dreams of mid-century modernism, the short-sighted folly of the architects who sought to build a brave new post-war world, futuristic and yet, at the same time, with no provision whatsoever for surviving in any decent shape beyond the present moment it was built.

Funny how the average boozers featured elsewhere in the magazine would still look appealing today, innit?

8 comments:

Tandleman said...

A really well designed pub is almost timeless.

Bods said...

That hotel looks... hmm... yes...

If anyone wonders what happened to it, it remained in four star luxury until 2008 when it closed down last year to become a Travelodge...
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/2008/06/02/sadness-as-coventry-s-leofric-hotel-closes-92746-21008623/

Still at least Travelodge sell bottle-conditioned ale.

DunnAle said...

I must say I have a sneaking appreciation for modernist architecture (case in point the isokon building in hampstead). Britain's problems were more with a lack of money and adherence to brutalism.

Saying that I wonder if anyone ever built a modernist pub? What is the new style of pub? Should we move away from Cod Victoriana and tudor buildings?

michael-j said...

i don't have a sneaking appreciation, i'll happily admit to loving modernist buildings and i think that hotel looks pretty good - the exterior anyway, interior looks a bit cheap and dingy

Alan said...

I love the way that in the bottom photo, the air duct is a feature and not an eyesore. I suppose when you are living with damp on the walls and chip butties for fine dining, this hotel was pretty damn radical.

BLTP said...

It would be an interesting search to find the last pub built in the uk. That's pub as opposed to bar it will probably one of the estate pubs on some late sixities developement. Not sure anything built since could be described as a pub.

Crown Brewer Stu said...

hotel in Sheffield, Grovnor?

Andrew said...

I stayed there once when attending a boring trade fair at the NEC. The hotel complemented it perfectly...