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Keystone Pushed Aside For A Return of The Cannon

Published on: 10 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 13 Mar, 2017

An impression of how the pub will look with its original name restored.

By Megan Wilman

Do you hanker for the “good old days” when pubs were pubs and a pint was 15p? Well putting the price of a pint to one side, you might be in luck.

The Keystone, on Portsmouth Road, has been given the go ahead to be converted back to a very traditional pub under its original name the Cannon, as it was when it first opened in 1844.

Initially built when Thomas Taunton inherited the Castle Brewery from his namesake father, the pub took its name, which lasted until the 1990s.

Many older residents of Guildford remain fond of the traditional, relaxed atmosphere and “local feel,” that pubs more often had in the past, including new owners Andrew Hamilton and Robert Cripps.

“We just want to put the fun back into pubs,” explains Andrew. With the many chain restaurants and swanky bars in Guildford town centre he thinks it’s time to embrace nostalgia.

“You have a choice in Guildford, you can either go somewhere where they’re banging out music which is a bit too much, or, they’re like morgues with everyone sitting down and having something to eat. We’re just trying to bring back the old pub feeling.”

Andrew Hamilton and Robert Cripps product testing some of their new lines.

He and Robert are certainly no strangers to the pub business. Having known each other for over 25 years with a shared love of old scooters, they set up their own business with an inflatable pop-up pub that they would set up at events. Since the ages of 18 they both also regularly frequented the Cannon, so when it became available, naturally they jumped at the chance.

“We told the brewery straight away we wanted to change it back to The Cannon. We actually wanted to put a pub back in the town with pool tables, dart boards, live music, open mic nights, as many drink deals as we can and a cheap food option. In other words, like an old style pub!”

The brewery approved and now work is under way for converting the entire building. A soft opening will be held tonight, Friday, March 10 and then it will be closed for around nine weeks with an aim to officially open in July.

The interior will reflect Andrew and Robert’s enthusiasm for reviving the traditional pub scene. It will feature original optics, thick leather seats and plush carpets, with an added twist in the garden; a “tiki” bar will be in place outside serving a variety of rum based cocktails. Inside, classic pub fare will be on offer at affordable prices almost unheard of in Guildford, something Andrew is proud of.

“We’re keeping the prices low, nothing over a tenner. Sunday roast will be £9.50 with veg all from Guildford market and meat from local butchers with sausages, bacon, things like that. We know all the market stalls so we got our veg from there. None of it’s frozen.”

The drinks menu will feature guest ales and craft beers, along with a good wine selection and a choice of spirits.

While it’s true the Cannon may appeal to a nostalgic older generation, it’s come one come all. Conveniently tucked away from the main Guildford area, weekends will feature good live music such as acoustic performances and punk bands in an environment where you can still have a meal and a chat.

“It’s not going to be an over 40s bar, but the music policy will cater for the older clientele. Not to say young people aren’t welcome, instead of going somewhere a bit stuffy or a long bar you can go to a pub. It’s going to be comfortable, warm, and snug. We’re really looking forward to it.”

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test 3 Responses to Keystone Pushed Aside For A Return of The Cannon

  1. Dave Middleton Reply

    March 11, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Splendid news! I really dislike this foolish fad of changing traditional pub names for abstract and meaningless titles.

    Let’s have the Elm Tree back next and restore it’s exterior to it’s original and attractive facade, rather than blacked out and boarded up windows.

  2. Brian Holt Reply

    March 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    The Cricketers pub on the Aldershot Road in Rydes Hill changed its name back last week.

    • Jan Morris Reply

      September 8, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Yes. So many memories of the cricketers. Only problem no food. That pub is a gold mine. Come on get the food back.

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