Wanted: new owner to run The Crooked House, Britain's 'wonkiest pub' that's been serving pints for almost 200 years
- Ambitious buyers have the chance to own what's been dubbed the "wonkiest pub" in Britain.
- The Crooked House near Dudley has gone on the market at a guide price of just over $800,000.
Ever dreamt of owning your own bar? If you don't mind tilting your head a bit, The Crooked House could be the one for you.
The pub just outside Dudley, in England's West Midlands, is one of 61 being sold by Marston's in an apparent bid to cut overheads following a recent surge in costs. The company runs about 1,500 pubs and employs 12,000 people.
The slanted pub, which has been dubbed the wonkiest in Britain, was built as a farmhouse in 1765 and is thought to have become a public house in the 1830s. It's on the market for a guide price of £675,000 ($813,000).
Dudley, about 10 miles west of Birmingham, was a mining town in the 19th century, with more than a quarter of the male population occupied in the coal, iron and limestone mines in 1840s, per Vision of Britain.
Mining activity triggered subsidence that caused the pub to start sinking. It was bought by Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries in the 1940s, which made the building structurally safe, according to selling agent Christie & Co.
One side of the pub is about 13 feet higher than the other, while its sash windows are all 16 degrees off-centre – more than double the famous lean of the Tower of Pisa, according to Discover Britain magazine.
Per The Times of London, a sign outside the pub details how its "walls create 'gravity hill'-style optical illusions including glasses slowly sliding across 'level' tables and marbles appearing to roll up hill".
However, the pub's subsidence means it could require a significant amount of upkeep despite its unique appearance.
"This is a chance to own what has been called Britain's wonkiest pub and Britain's drunkest pub. Surely there's some appeal there? It's a piece of history," 54-year-old patron Jim Knowlson told The Times.
On top of logistical issues, the new owner of the wonky pub may also struggle to make ends meet.
Keris de Villiers, who runs the Pig & Whistle pub in Wandsworth, south London, said she'd never found it so difficult to turn a profit in 10 years.
"We got through COVID, but the cost-of-living crisis is worse," she told the BBPA. "Costs on everything across our business from energy to ingredients have rocketed."
The number of pubs in Britain fell by 15% between 2010 and 2020, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.
The number of pubs in England and Wales fell below 40,000 last year, real estate advisers Altus Group told The Guardian, as rising costs combined with declining patronage. The BBPA warned that another 2,000 could face closure by the end of next year.
A Marston's representative told The Times that The Crooked House was expected to remain as a pub under a new owner.
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