The Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub in St. Albans, England has been around since the year 793 A.D., according to the Guinness Book of World Records, but is finally shutting down due to hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christo Tofalli, the operator of the pub, shared the sad news in a Facebook post on Feb. 4, saying that they have filed for bankruptcy and have struggled during the entire pandemic.
"It is with great sadness that I have to announce that today, after a sustained period of extremely challenging trading conditions, YOFC Ltd has gone into administration," Tofalli said in the post.
"Along with my team, I have tried everything to keep the pub going. However, the past two years have been unprecedented for the hospitality industry, and have defeated all of us who have been trying our hardest to ensure this multi-award-winning pub could continue trading into the future."
Tofalli expressed his disappointment in having to shut down the pub, and thanked all the people that made Ye Olde Fighting Cocks what it was.
"It goes without saying I am heartbroken: this pub has been so much more than just a business to me, and I feel honoured to have played even a small part in its history," Tofalli said.
There have been hundreds of pubs throughout the United Kingdom that have been forced to close since the pandemic started in 2020.
The owners of the pub, Mitchells & Butlers, are one of the largest operators of restaurants, bars and pubs in all of Britain. They told The Washington Post that the news is true, but it may not mean the end for the pub.
"We can confirm that sadly our tenants at Ye Old Fighting Cocks have appointed administrators [for the insolvency process] but can reassure locals that this is not the end for the pub," the statement said.
"We are currently exploring all opportunities for the site’s future and hope to reopen the pub under new management as soon as possible."
A GoFundMe titled "Save Ye Olde Fighting Cocks!" was started to try and save the pub. As of Feb. 8, it has raised 3,317 pounds, or $4,492.54.
"Ye Olde Fighting Cocks has been a pub in the heart of St Albans since the 11th century," the GoFundMe description said. "If you live here, you will know of it's origin being one of the oldest pubs in the country. Sadly, due to the pandemic and the hike in business rates, they have been unable to stay open. We need to save them.
"I've spent countless nights here with friends, family and even met my fiancé here. It's an irreplaceable piece of history that must be saved. If we can all pitch in, perhaps we can keep this wonderful place open."
Tofalli still believes that there's a chance the pub isn't closed for good, but will need a large investment to keep it running for the future.