Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Case Is Altered, Fiveways, Hatton, Warwickshire

The vast majority of pubs in England and Wales are owned by breweries or pub companies, run as either managed or leased businesses with widely varying degrees of autonomy. This makes The Case Is Altered near Warwick something of a rarity. In fact it's that rarest of all pubs, an independent, family owned and run free house. This means it's free from the interference and unreasonable demands of pubcos, free to sell ales from whichever breweries the owners wish, and free to run the pub just the way the owners like it. At The Case this means for the benefit of a regular custom of drinkers who like the pub just the way it is, largely unchanged and unspoilt by unnecessary change.

It's the family owned bit that's particularly important at the Case Is Altered, and what makes pubs like this unique and precious survivors. The current landlady took over the running of the pub from her late grandmother over 30 years ago, and this has resulted in the kind of continuity of ownership which is now unusual in the pub trade.

The constant churn of licensees in practically all areas of the trade, and the resulting endless rounds of refurbishment and reinvention, is one of the key factors behind the loss of so much genuine character in so many pubs. Of course I'm not saying that change in pubs is always bad, but when it's change for the sake of it, and without reference to local feeling or thought for the history and heritage of the pub, we often lose something important and irretrievable in the process.

So it's this continuity of ownership at the Case Is Altered that has helped maintain the pub as a truly unspoilt (if not entirely unchanged) classic. But it's not just the decor that's been preserved and cherished, it's also a hard to define, yet instantly recognisable 'timeless' quality which has endured in the bar. You get the feeling that things are much the same in the quarry tile floored bar as they've always been, give or take a few price rises.

A rare and genuine survivor at the pub is a very fine old Bar Billiards Table, tucked in a corner of the entrance lobby, and showing the deep patina of age and use. Bearing the label of A W Chick Ltd, a Birmingham cue sports manufacturer who seem to have been in production until the early1960's when the business was finally wound up. The timing and ball release mechanism remains unaltered from pre-decimal times, and old sixpences are available to buy from behind the bar for those wanting a game.

As can be seen above, Cribbage is still popular at the pub, with Monday evenings set aside for play, and beginners to the game welcome. I can't imagine a better place for a card game than in front of the open fire at this classic village local.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic looking pub ! We own a similar establishment in Portslade, nr Brighton, check us out when your in our neck of the woods ,