IT’S BEEN sailors’ second home for more than a century but The Royal Standard – affectionately known as Ruby’s – is closing.
The pub, in Edinburgh Road, Landport, Portsmouth, which dates from 1887, will close in its current form on December 2.
It is known nationally and internationally for its close ties to the Royal Navy.
But due to money problems, the family that has run it for generations has had to make the tough choice to close it down, although owner Punch Taverns says it wants to find a new licensee.
Sarah Erridge, who helps run the pub with her dad, Steve Wood, said: ‘It has been a very difficult decision for the family to make to cut our losses and leave the family business after 52 years.
‘If we had not had to fight Punch Taverns over a building dispute for the past seven years we might have been in a better position to stay.
‘But, the fact remains the area around us has changed with big-chain Wetherspoons and we are not competitively priced.
‘Our customers are all in disbelief that this has happened. We’d like to thank them for their loyalty and support over the years.’
Sarah added that the dispute with Punch Taverns cost them thousands of pounds that could have been used for the running of the pub.
She said: ‘We have been battling with them over a lot of things. The seven-year dispute has cost us too much.’
The Royal Standard was due to close in October but the family wanted to be open for Remembrance Sunday.
The pub has been in the family for more than 50 years and, until 2000, was run by Sarah’s grandmother Ruby.
The popular owner was well-loved and her name takes pride of place on a sign at the entrance.
Over the 126 years, the walls of the single bar room have become covered with hundreds of Royal Navy ships’ crests. Old photographs of the pub and other local scenes are also displayed, along with collectables.
Sarah added: ‘We have a strong navy link and that is shown by the many collectables in the pub.
‘We have so much maritime memorabilia that we decided to auction it off. The money raised will go to charity.’
A Punch Taverns spokeswoman said: ‘The licensees have handed in their notice.
‘The Royal Standard has been run as a family business for the last 50 years, they have been very good operators and we wish them all the best. Our priority is to keep the pub open and serving the community, and we are recruiting a new licensee to take on the pub on a permanent basis.’