Northampton pub once on the verge of closing is doing better than ever... after turning into a live music venue

A Northampton landlady is reaping the rewards after changing the face of her pub from a restaurant to an entertainment venue.

Tuesday, 28th August 2018, 6:33 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:16 pm
Liz has stopped serving food in favour of music at her pub in the heart of Kingsthorpe.
Liz has stopped serving food in favour of music at her pub in the heart of Kingsthorpe.

Liz Cox of the Old Five Bells and Entertainment Venue in Harborough Road took on the struggling nightspot last May after returning to Kingsthorpe following a stint working in Lanzarote where she ran a comedy drag show.

The mum-of-four came back to her hometown after eight years with just four suitcases and a year later she had her own pub.

Liz, who has only worked in the night time economy, took over the venue last May and scrapped the decision to serve food altogether.

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Liz has stopped serving food in favour of music at her pub in the heart of Kingsthorpe.

Now she says the move has not only rescued the Old Five Bells - it is doing better than ever.

"We closed the carvery down - it lost so much money," she said.

"When I took over I made the decision to do no more food and took it back to just drinking - a good old fashioned pub.

"The pub was on the verge of closure when I was asked to take it over, so, never one to back down from a challenge, I took it on and made a lot of contacts with help from my friends as I’d been away for so long.

The pub is both wheelchair and family friendly.

"It obviously started slowly as word got round and we removed various trouble makers from the pub. Then it just got busier and busier.

"We tried various different acts until we discovered what the community enjoyed.

"It was trial and error with a few things... until you know what people like and now we are flying."

The unique selling point of the newly named Old Five Bells and Entertainment Venue is the function room, which can be hired out free of charge to 150 people.

Liz said the Peaky Blinders night was such a success she could have sold the tickets three times over.

Every weekend the watering hole hosts a live music event and open mic night. It has scheduled in the John Burrows Band and Soul Mo Funk Live and Loaded for the over the next couple of weeks.

The pub was at full capacity when she held a night dedicated to the BBC's Peaky Blinders. Now she is looking forward to more niche events, including psychic night on October 11 as well as a gothic masquerade ball on October 27 with a cellist, photographer and opera singer.