New Chapter Starts For Scilly’s Iconic Mermaid Inn

The Mermaid Inn

The Mermaid Inn

The new landlord of The Mermaid has promised that he’ll maintain the character and appearance of the popular St Mary’s pub.

The Mermaid reopened at the weekend and Nick George, whose family has three mainland pubs including the Yacht Inn in Penzance, says he’s delighted that he’s taken on the business.

He’s entered into a business partnership with James Francis from The Star Castle Hotel to reopen the pub, which has been closed since January

Nick says he’s “spent enough time in the Mermaid over the past 20 years” and jumped at the chance to work with James when the opportunity arose.

He has strong links with the islands, with a business transporting livestock from the off-islands to the mainland and he’s visited regularly for sporting events.

He won’t be able to manage daily operations but has appointed Mandy Batten as Designated Premises Supervisor.

Mandy has worked at Nick’s family’s pubs for over 30 years, including a decade at the Yacht Inn.

She wanted to move to Scilly to be closer to her sister, who lives at Trenoweth.

Nick and his brother will also commute regularly to the islands to ensure the business is a success.

Nick says the pub trade is tough at the moment and the average duration of a new tenant is just 137 days. He blames some of the big pub chains for charging extortionate rents.

Everything is focussed on collecting rent rather than developing sales and footfall within the business, he says

The building’s owners, brewery chain Punch Taverns, has committed to major infrastructure works at their own expense. That includes rewiring, new toilets and windows, and repointing the stonework.

Nick says he thinks it’s an outstanding pub, the best on the islands, and he doesn’t want to make any drastic changes to the character.

But one area that will need developing is the downstairs Slip Inn. Nick says it’s fairly underused and it’s hard to justify keeping it open for half an hours drinking at the end of the evening.

James Francis is likely to develop the food offer there and it might also be used for morning coffee, although he says the first job is to clear the 8 inch-deep “duck pond” which has appeared following the recent bad weather.

3 Responses to New Chapter Starts For Scilly’s Iconic Mermaid Inn