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Lancaster licensee announces departure from quayside bar and move to city centre pub

Bill Johnston

A Lancaster licensee has announced he will be moving on from his current quayside pub to take over behind a different bar in the city centre.

Bill Johnston will be leaving the Wagon and Horses on St George's Quay and will instead become boss at the Tap House on Gage Street.

Mr Johnston had been in charge at the Wagon since September 2022, after previously being at the helm at the Canal Turn in Carnforth.

Prior to that, he worked as station director at The Bay radio.

Mr Johnston said "rising costs, particularly crippling energy bills" were behind his decision to leave the Wagon and said that his own company will cease trading.

The Wagon and Horses will remain open under temporary management.

In a statement on the Wagon and Horses Facebook page, Mr Johnston said: "Sadly my company will cease trading on Monday January 8 when a temporary operator takes over.

"With ever rising costs across everything, particularly the crippling energy bills, I need to call it a day.

"It's a real shame and I'm gutted after pumping so much money, time and energy into this beautiful venue.

"All of my wonderful staff will be protected under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings - Protection of Employment regulations) when they transfer over on 8th January.

"On top of my team, my priority is to ensure that all local suppliers have been or will be paid up to date.

"As part of the change of hands, our last day of trading will be Saturday 6th January but we need to close on Sunday 7th January when the final move takes place.

"There may be some disruption with the change of hands but the Wagon and Horses will remain open for the community - hotel and food reservations are still being taken.

"Thanks so much to all of our wonderful customers who have supported my business in the last 16 months (or six years including from my previous site). I've met so many wonderful people and many will be long-term friends. Thanks also to the incredible musicians who have entertained you all.

"Karla and I will be moving to The Tap House, Lancaster.

"It's currently closed but we'll be reopening it as a lovely bar and live music venue by the end of January. We hope to see you there if you're passing."

The Tap House is owned by Chorley-based Trust Inns, 

Read more: Former radio station boss takes over Lancaster pub - Beyond Radio

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