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Joe Bloggs and Saatchi help pub pull a winning pint

PUBLISHED: 18:26 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:32 05 October 2010

A POPULAR boozer in London's East End loved by ordinary Joe Bloggses' and top art dealer Charles Saatchi is bucking the decline in the declining pub trade... much to the surprise of brewery bosses, writes By Julius Cavendish. The brewery couldn't understand why landlord Keith Craven hadn't recorded a drop in profits at Bethnal Green's Approach Tavern, like most others in the trade

A POPULAR boozer in London's East End loved by ordinary 'Joe Bloggses' and top art dealer Charles Saatchi is bucking the decline in the declining pub trade... much to the surprise of brewery bosses, writes By Julius Cavendish.

The brewery couldn't understand why landlord Keith Craven hadn't recorded a drop in profits at Bethnal Green's Approach Tavern, like most others in the trade.

Beer sales are at their lowest since the Depression of the 1930s.

The number of pub tenants handing back keys has doubled and landlords are blaming last year's smoking ban legislation for driving regulars away.

There were 1.6 million fewer pints a day are pulled than last year, according to the British Beer & Pub Association.

But The Approach near Victoria Park is weathering the beer storm.

Keith, a 39-year-old chef by profession who's been running pubs for five years, thinks he's hit on a winning formula by offering something for everyone.

That includes Margaret Thatcher's favourite advertising guru Charles Saatchi who is drawn to The Approach with his wife Nigella Lawson to an upstairs art gallery above the saloon bar where works by up-and-coming East End talent are displayed.

"We get teenagers to granddads in here," said Keith. "It's one of the most mixed pubs I ever ran.

"We get the art students, the 'Joe Bloggses' and the middle-classes coming in for the food."

His beer garden is heated and covered in winter, which gets round the effects of the 2007 legislation banning smoke.

Keith took over the pub in Approach-road a year ago after being offered free rein with the menu by the owners, Remarkable Restaurants.

His career as a chef spanning 22 years has included stints at prestigious West End restaurants Orso and The Ivy, and the Chelsea Harbour Club.

Now he's showing the pub trade can pull through with 'the right approach' propping up the bar with a mix of art lovers, students and 'Joe Bloggses.'



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