A landmark pub famous for its many jazz nights and comedy shows will call time at the bar for good this weekend – despite an increase in trade, according to staff and locals.
Trade at the Heathcote Arms in Leytonstone, which has served the community for decades, has picked up in recent months as staff say they made an effort to transform it reputation.
Despite their push for punters, one of the pub's duty managers, Daniel Lawlor and team leader Christine Bennett were told just three weeks ago that owners Stonegate had sold it.
Mr Lawlor, who has also had to move out of the upstairs flat, said it was a loss to the community.
“It’s been a very up and down pub," he added.
“The regulars in here absolutely love it – some of them have been coming for 40 or 50 years.
“Everyone remembers the music. We have had some great music and comedy here.
"Location, Location, Location filmed here and Alan Davies did stand up comedy here.
“It took us a long time to turn it into a family pub but we did it and we have seen a difference.”
Ms Bennett, who remembers the pub being full on Fridays after nearby factory workers finished work years ago, agreed.
“Nobody can say that we have been run into the ground," she added. "We were really picking up.
“We’ve been exactly where we should be. I wouldn’t say it’s been major but we have been doing well.
“We put in so much work as a team and the regulars love it – it is really sad.”
Nobody at the pub knows exactly when it opened but many have been drinking there since they were teenagers.
Des Egan, 69, of St Anne’s Road, is a regular in the pub.
“Young people don’t drink in pubs anymore like we did - they go to clubs.
“It is such a shame. The closest pubs now for me will be in the High Road.
“As far as I know it used to be a coach house, with stables round the back.”
Maureen and Chaz Blunden were in the bar today having a ‘farewell pint’.
Mr Blunden is usually Santa for the pub at Christmas and both said the loss of the pub was a "huge shame".
Maureen and Bill Measure enjoy drinking in the pub - remembering it as a "rough old place" many years ago.
“There have been so many landlords over the years, but there is a lovely group of people now,” Mr Measure added.
“I am disappointed to see it go.”
Stonegate have not declared who it has been sold to.