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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

#250 Market Tavern, Atherstone, Warwickshire : 1995 to 2018 (RIP??)

Atherstone is a place we visit fairly frequently on our boating trips and, for a small town, it still has a lot of pubs. One of our favourites is the Market Tavern which has a chequered past and an uncertain future.

Although we'd stopped in Atherstone previously, my first experience of the town itself was on the evening of Monday 4th September 1995. Even then there were a lot of pubs in the town and it was difficult to see how they could all survive, even in the halcyon days before the smoking ban.

Sadly, not one of my best pictures! This was probably our third or fourth pub of the night and gave us a taste of what was to come in the future. It was (and still is) a lovely two room pub, but when we arrived there was only the barman in the place. We ordered our pints of lager each and discovered that he was the stand-in manager as the previous incumbent had left. As we were chatting another customer came in, ordered a half, drank it in about 10 minutes and was gone! We finished ours and followed him shortly afterwards, looking for food.

We didn't return to Atherstone until lunchtime on Saturday 20th August 2005 to find the Market Tavern still going strong!
I don't recall too much about our visit, just that it had changed remarkably little in the intervening 10 years.

We were back again on the evening of Tuesday 25th May 2009 and still there was little discernible change.

Another five years passed and we returned on the evening of Sunday 5th October 2014.
Although it appeared unchanged, the Market Tavern was now owned by the Warwickshire Beer Company. Inside it had been tastefully refurbished and retained its character as a proper boozer.

We were back in Atherstone again on the evening of Wednesday 2nd September 2015.
It just so happened that Wednesday night was quiz night at the Market Tavern, thus killing two birds with one stone as there were sandwiches included with the quiz (so no need to search out a dodgy curry...or worse!).

Of course, we did the unthinkable and won the quiz (its a small pub so there weren't many teams...and there were only two of us!) The prize was a bottle of wine and a gallon of beer (in one pint vouchers). So we did what anyone else would (to maintain order and dignity) we took the wine had a pint each and gave the rest of the vouchers to the other teams...well, it was late and we'd never have managed to use them up.

On our most recent trip to take Peggy Ellen to her new moorings at Napton,   we stopped at Atherstone again. This was on the evening of Saturday 29th September 2018.
The Market Tavern was to be our first stop of the evening, but it was closed! As we discovered later, they were looking for a new tenant/manager, but from current internet searching it would appear that it is still closed.Whether it gets a resurrection is still unknown, but I hope it does survive.


  1. I like Atherstone, it's an honest town, and I've had very good beer in the Market Tavern while it was in the Guide. I bet the town was harder hit by the smoking ban than most.

    NB Dodgy curry ! Speak from experience there ?

    1. We've never found any really good food in Atherstone and we had an awful Italian meal in the Red Lion Hotel one year. Sandwiches at the quiz and fish and chips last time are the highlights! Decent food at the King's Head on the edge of town by the canal, though!

  2. Great pictures and love the way these posts flow... surprisingly I've never been to Atherstone for a pint...I'll need to change that
    Britain Beermat

    1. There's plenty to choose suit all tastes!

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