By Angela Green:
Parched is an independent group of South London pubs run by four friends, Isaac Tooby, Michael Robinson, Neil Watson, and Shane Ranasinghe, who next month are celebrating their 20th anniversary in the business.
The quartet will celebrate two decades of success operating pubs throughout South London, The White Horse in Peckham, The Roebuck in Borough, The Railway in Streatham, Grove House Tavern in Camberwell, and The Montpelier in Peckham, and recent opening, The Earl of Derby in New Cross.
All four friends are South London locals who throughout the years in business together have managed to take ownership of underused pubs on the brink of being shut down by property developers.
Between 2011 and 2017, they fought the previous landowner of the Montpelier in Peckham and were able to save the pub from being turned into blocks of flats. Similarly, in 2021 they saved Grove House Tavern from a developer. Director Neil Watson, reflected by saying: “When we know an area and community well and we have confidence a pub can thrive, we throw everything at trying to get the keys to ensure we can keep it going.”
Parched has always been on the lookout for pubs that mean something to their community. The lease of their first pub, The Roebuck, was bought in November 2003. Their ethos from the start was to be independent owner operators, sell excellent beer, use local suppliers, restore original design features, support up-and-coming talent, and be community focussed – places where everyone is welcome. Creating the kind of local they’d like to hang out in themselves, this remains true twenty years later.
Co-founder Isaac Tooby explained by saying: “We always endeavour to curate a space and atmosphere that’s both welcoming and safe to every part of the local community, thus our pubs truly reflect and represent the fantastic people of south London.”
Looking forward, Parched will continue their mission to help save more London’s pubs. If the right landmark pub comes available that is under used by the community, the team is always ready to give it the love and attention the community deserves.
Next year more than ever they will be focussing on their teams, improving colleague welfare and training. Co-founder Michael Robinson set out why saying: “Staff welfare must be prioritised. We understand that putting our staff first has a positive impact on everything we do. It allows us to meet key targets whilst also promoting a culture of inclusiveness and ensuring a more personalised and tailored experience for our customers. Happy staff means happy customers.”
After a turbulent start to the decade, they will be focusing on more team building and training in more trips to wineries, breweries and distilleries.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebration, Parched will be hosting a series of events across the sites to celebrate. There will be big DJ nights, mega quizzes, beer festivals and running weekly knockdown 2003 prices across all the venues.