A champion opening in Soho

Tom Cribb (1781 to 1848) was a bare-knuckle boxer who became All England Champion, reigning from 1808 to 1822. After he retired, he became the landlord of the Union Arms in the West End. The pub was subsequently renamed in his honour. The pub has recently undergone an £800,000 transformation under the management of owners Shepherd Neame. In October, former WBA world champion Barry McGuigan officially declared the pub open to great cheers. Barry added, “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!” Part of the transformation has seen the creation of an upstairs dining and function room named after Bill Richmond. As you might guess, he too was a boxer, one of Cribb’s great rivals.

To add to the mix, also in attendance was professional boxer Alex Branson-Cole, a middleweight from Faversham who is being sponsored by the brewery. Alex pulled the first pint. The master of ceremonies was Jonathan Neame, Shepherd Neame’s chief executive. Situated at 36 Panton Street, the attractive building with a Victorian façade has been restored while retaining its unique features and memorabilia. This includes a renovation of the bar, creation of a more open plan ground floor space and the aforementioned upstairs room. Congratulations are due to Shep’s for their investment in pubs and their positive attitude towards their future. The pub is pictured on the front cover. For more information, go to www.tomcribblondon.co.uk.

(left to right) Jonathan Neame, Alex Branson-Cole and Barry McGuigan

With thanks to Shepherd Neame for both photos.
John Cryne