The longest-serving landlord in Harrogate is leaving in a sign of the pressures felt in some parts of the pub trade.
Roger Palmer has run the award-winning Tap n Spile on Tower Street for 23 years. But, despite his devotion to this real ale pub and the many good times he’s had there, he says it’s simply become to difficult to make a living
Roger said: “It’s a sad day but all good things come to an end. Being self-employed it’s hard to make money. The overheads are just too high.”
When it first opened 30 years ago, the Tap n Spile helped lead the way in Harrogate for better beer in an era when CAMRA was just starting to push against the big brewers who dominated the trade completely.
Before craft beer had even been invented, the Tap n Spile was already offering a wider variety and standard of beer than the norm.
But Roger also gave this traditional-looking its own style based on darts, dogs and live music sessions amid its wooden flooring, stone walls, chalk boards and upright piano.
As well as holding the Cask Marque Award for serving great quality real ale, the Tap n Spile also built up a loyal customer base under Roger’s stewardship.
By 1999, the pub was winning awards as the best in the district.
A leaseholder with Enterprise Inns, the largest pub company in the UK, Roger said he was grateful for all the support he’s had over the years.
He said: “The staff have been great, especially Cherri and her husband.”
“I’d also like to thank the customers for all their loyalty. I think some of them have been coming since it first opened!
“A lot of American friends have come here. They always say there’s nothing like it in the States.”
Roger says he fears the Tap n Spile will close after he leaves, possibly for a new look and a new name.
But he’s not going until the end of the month and he intends to leave on a high.
He said: “I hope the regulars will get through all the beer before I leave on March 31. I can't take it with me!
"After that, I’m going on a well-earned holiday. I haven’t had one in six-and-a-half years.”