The brick built Red Lion is on the corner of Broad Street and Market Square. It was once known as the ‘Red Lion Commercial and Posting House’.
The Red Lion is a rare example of a licensed premises where the annual rateable value decreased in the twelve years of enumeration from 1891 to 1903. The rates were £28.0s.0d. in 1891 and down by £4 to £24.0s.0d. in 1903. It is possible that the earlier valuation included a parcel of land that was sold off, but that is pure conjecture. Thomas Hartland owned the Red Lion in 1891 and he leased it to the Tewkesbury Brewery Company. At the time they also owned the Bull Inn, just a few yards away. When Edwin A. Jones had taken ownership of the Red Lion in 1903 the pub was operating as a free house. The Red Lion was a fully licensed ale house and closed at 11 pm.
The Red Lion became a West Country house in the late 1950’s and then ownership passed to Whitbread, and Whitbread Flowers. A reminder of its past brewery heritage is a ‘West Country Ales – 1760 – Best in the West’ ceramic plaque which is still inlaid into the wall.
In January 2008 part of the Red Lion was re-opened as the Alicia Restaurant. An ‘eating out’ review in the ‘Forester’ newspaper in June commented, “The Red Lion is a fine old local with beams, wooden floors and a large TV for sporting events. Enter through the double doors in the corner opposite Newent Market House and upstairs you’ll find a completely different environment. This is the recently opened Alicia restaurant, extended and refurbished and now boasts its own bar.” Head chef Dean Tickner said, “The restaurant is going really well at lunchtime and we get quite a few parties in”, adding “The evenings are still a little uncertain. We can have 20 people booked in for one night, and none the next.” The review was very complimentary, giving a score of 10/10 for service, food and value for money. The Alicia restaurant at the Red Lion held a medieval banquet to celebrate St Georges Day in April 2008. The staff wore period costume to serve customers and a folk band played medieval music. Activities also included face painting, a coconut shy, apple bobbing and an archery competition. The funds raised were donated to a Cancer charity.
In November 2011 police were called to a town centre brawl in Newent. Trouble flared after a group of unruly customers left the Red Lion and congregated nearby at the Market Hall. 30 people were believed to be caught up in the disturbance. A man tried to intervene as a policeman went to arrest a 21-year-old woman for being drunk and disorderly. Two police officers ended up grappling with a group of about six people and one PC was kicked in the head whilst he was on the ground. A spokesman for Gloucestershire Constabulary said, “There will be an increased presence in Newent during the weekend and right up to Christmas.” A 31-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of assault and another 21-year-old man held on suspicion of obstructing a police officer.
When new landlords moved into the Red Lion in September 2015 they made a determined effort to turn the pub into a family-friendly establishment. The landlord took a hard line on anti-social behaviour and suspected drug-dealing. He said, “It’s a community and I don’t tolerate that sort of behaviour. We have pool, darts, hockey and many clubs that come here.” Sadly the landlords were subjected to a hate campaign which culminated in an early morning attack when three masked yobs smashed every ground floor window with scaffolding bars. The landlady said, “I have worked in pubs all of my life and I’ve never come across anything as bad as this. I’m a nervous wreck because I don’t know what they’ll do next.”
The Red Lion Bar & Kitchen is now a ‘family-friendly, contemporary all-day destination’. A wood-burning pizza oven has been installed and traditional sour-dough is used to make authentic pizza. The bar offers ‘an array of bottled beers, lagers and ciders, plus San Miguel on tap’. There is a ‘selection of great wines, an extensive gin menu served with Fever Tree tonics, plus some soft drinks including some especially for children.’ The promotion continues, ‘If you fancy a coffee while catching up with friends we have a full coffee menu, the beans are freshly roasted to our own recipe, plus various teas, hot chocolate and freshly squeezed orange juice.’
Stroud News & Journal (online), 28th January 2023
Three AA-rosette-holder Andy Sheridan, who runs the award-winning restaurant 8 in Birmingham, wants to breathe new life into one of the county’s empty pubs.
Andy, who was on Series 14 of BBC Two’s Great British Menu, will be relaunching the Red Lion in Newent this spring.
The venture will feature a fine dining restaurant upstairs and an upmarket gastro pub – serving good quality British classics – downstairs.
There will also be a new garden space, with special dining pods, that will have its own wood fired fare.
Andy said: “I can’t wait to bring our food to Gloucestershire.”
The Red Lion is due to re-open at the beginning of April.
Landlords at the Red Lion include:
1822,1823 George Warder (Red Lion and Commercial Hotel)
1830 Mary Holder
1837 Joseph Lewis
1856 Frederick Bisco
1876 Miles Hartland (also listed as a painter, plumber and glazier)
1885 Mrs Emma Mary Careswell
1891 Benjamin Court
1903,1906 Edwin A. Jones
1919 Mrs Maud Jones
1927 Ernest John Cummins
1997 Paul and Tracy
1997 Jeff Hall
1999 Trevor Yorke
2001 Chris Mairies
2008 Marcus Warder