Firkin Brewery

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The Firkin Brewery was a chain of pubs in the United Kingdom. The original UK chain is now defunct, but a number of pubs operate under the Firkin name in other countries. The chain took its name from the firkin, an old English unit of volume.

Established in 1979 by David Bruce as Bruce's Brewery, the Firkin Brewery grew as a chain of mostly brewpubs offering cask ale. It was acquired by Midsummer Leisure in 1988, Stakis Leisure in 1990 and then by Allied Domecq in 1991, rapidly expanding thereafter.[1] In 1999, Punch Taverns bought the entire chain and the rights to the Firkin brand,[2] and then sold 110 of the pubs to Bass, leaving 60 Firkin pubs under Punch ownership.[3] The brewery side of the chain was wound up, and in March 2001 Punch announced that the Firkin brand was to be discontinued.[4]

Most of the pubs are now owned by Mitchells and Butlers (formerly Bass), and many have been rebranded as Scream, O'Neills or Goose pubs. Some of the Punch Taverns-owned Firkins were rebranded as Mr Q's or Bar Room Bar pubs. A small handful of establishments still retain the Firkin branding.

The pubs were distinguishable because they all followed the same naming convention: The ---- and Firkin, where ---- was usually a word, beginning with either "F" or "Ph", which had some connection to the pub building or to the local area.

The Firkin Brewery also gave out T-shirts for anyone who managed at least 12 pubs in the Firkin Crawl. A "passport", issued by the Brewery, would be filled with a stamp from each pub visited, and public transport directions to the nearest pub in the crawl would also be in the "passport". Although there was no stipulation in the rules that the 12 pubs had to be completed on the same day, this was often the goal of participants.

Firkin pubs outside the UK[edit]

North America[edit]

Firkin pubs in Canada and the United States operate under the Firkin Group Of Pubs franchise, a chain of English theme pubs founded in Ontario, Canada in 1987.[5] The naming scheme for the pubs is similar to that of the UK chain (for example, "The Crown and Firkin", in Whitby, Ontario, Canada), and many Firkin Group pubs in fact share their names with former UK Firkin Brewery pubs. In the United States, the franchise pubs are named with "Firkin" first, as in "The Firkin & Fox" as opposed to "The Fox & Firkin".

The pub chain once credited itself as being the "largest and fastest growing" group of pubs in North America. Lately the claim is "largest & most dominant chain of traditional English pubs" in North America. About 10 pubs have closed out of the about 25 pubs that have opened since 2005. New pubs have opened about every 6 months, keeping the overall number of open pubs around 15. Typically the demographic ranges from parents with children during the day to an older drinking crowd in the evenings and late night. Although the menu is somewhat limited, the food is on pace with other more well known bar & grill restaurants.

The current list of active pubs in the United States as of December 2009 is listed below.

Australia[edit]

A number of independent English-style pubs in Australia use "Firkin" in their names, such as the Firkin and Hound in Alice Springs.[6]

List of Firkin pubs[edit]

UK pubs[edit]

Firkin Name Location Current Name Current Brand
Fabricant and Firkin Huddersfield Warehouse Scream
Faculty and Firkin Aston University, Birmingham Gosta Green Scream
Factor and Firkin Paisley
Factotum and Firkin Birmingham The Sun on the Hill (formerly The Hill)
Fahrenheit and Firkin Woking O'Neills
Fair and Firkin Nottingham Firstly Horn In Hand (Scream), now Spanky Van Dyke's
Fairfield and Firkin Govan, Glasgow
Falcon and Firkin Hackney, London The Victoria Park now called The Britannia
Fantail and Firkin Muswell Hill, London O'Neills
Faraday and Firkin Battersea, London The Goat
Farmyard and Firkin Aylesbury The Harrow
Fathom and Firkin Worthing The Assembly
Fatling and Firkin Hornchurch, London
Faun and Firkin Leicester Square, London Fudge
Fayre and Firkin Ashby De La Zouch The Bulls Head
Feast and Firkin Leeds The Library Scream
Featherie and Firkin St. Andrews The Raisin Scream
Fedora and Firkin Luton Bellini
Felis and Firkin Kenilworth, Warwickshire The Lion
Felon and Firkin Leeds O'Neills
Felons and Firkin Knowle The Red Lion
Fermenter and Firkin Wolverhampton Billas Bar
Ferret and Firkin (see note below) Chelsea, London Originally the Balloon Tavern, now known as Lots Road Pub and Dining Room Food & Fuel
Fettler and Firkin Paddington, London
Fettlers and Firkin Nuneaton The Crown
Fewterer and Firkin Sydenham, London
Fez and Firkin Reading The Turks (reviving its pre-Firkin name, The Turk's Head)
Fiddler and Firkin Croydon, London Firstly reverted to its original name The Duke's Head, then became the Apatura restaurant
Fielder and Firkin Sutton, London The Prince Regent
Fieldmouse and Firkin Moseley, Birmingham The Fighting Cocks Goose
Figurehead and Firkin Bristol The River, now No.1 Harbourside
Filament and Firkin Newcastle Goose
Filibuster and Firkin Darlington Retro
Filly and Firkin Nottingham The Rose of England
Financier and Firkin Kingston upon Thames, London Now a Pizza restaurant
Finch and Firkin Liverpool The Brookhouse Scream
Fine Leg and Firkin Swansea, Wales The Cricketers
Finings and Firkin Warley The Bridge
Finn and Firkin Stirchley, Birmingham The Hibernian (now Dogpool Hotel)
Finnesko and Firkin Norwich The Reindeer
Firecracker and Firkin Crawley Formerly The Rocket, using a picture of Stephenson's Rocket as its sign, now The Railway
Firefly and Firkin Bournemouth The Inferno Scream
Fish and Firkin Southend-on-Sea The Alex Scream
Fitchew and Firkin Rugby, Warwickshire The Bull
Fitter and Firkin Partick, Glasgow Boho Club
Fitzooth and Firkin Broomhill, Sheffield Nottingham House
Fizgig and Firkin Exeter Starz Bar
Flag and Firkin Watford The Flag (echoing the original name of the smaller former benskins brewery pub 'the pennant'.)
Flamingo and Firkin Derby Flares
Flamingo and Firkin Kingston upon Thames, London Originally Three Tuns, subsequently Flamingo, Hog and Stump, Kingston Tup, No 88 Bar & Grill
Flanker and Firkin Coventry The Hare and Squirrel
Flapper and Firkin Birmingham The Flapper
Flare and Firkin Aberdeen The Holburn Arena
Flax and Firkin Preston The Assembly
Flea and Firkin Manchester Footage (Also previously called Footage and Firkin after Flea and Firkin, see below) Scream
Fledgling and Firkin Hertford Blackbirds
Fleece and Firkin Bristol The Fleece
Fletcher and Firkin Nottingham The Castle
Flicker and Firkin Richmond upon Thames, London The Lot Scream
Flitch and Firkin Leigh The Boars Head
Flock and Firkin Walsall The Wheatsheaf
Floozey and Firkin Woodseats, Sheffield Woodseats Hotel
Florikan and Firkin Bedminster, Bristol Bay Bar
Flounder and Firkin Holloway, London Originally the Lamb, the brewery tap of the Highbury brewery, founded in 1740 and taken over and closed by Taylor Walker 1912. Numerous guises post-Firkin including Bar Cosa, since March 2012 independent pub The Lamb.
Flower and Firkin Kew, London
Fly and Firkin Middlesbrough Southfield Scream
Flyhalf and Firkin Cardiff The Queen's Vaults
Flyer and Firkin Reading Oakford Social Club
Flyman and Firkin Central London Now Thai Square restaurant
Foal and Firkin Derby The White Horse
Fog and Firkin Newcastle Stereo Bar
Font and Firkin (now called The Font) Brighton
Fool and Firkin Plymouth Woodside Inn
Footage and Firkin
(previously called The Flea and Firkin)
Manchester Footage Scream
Footbridge and Firkin
Clifton, Bristol The Mall
Ford and Firkin Romford, London The Bitter End. The pub's original name was the White Hart. Closed in 2012.
Forger and Firkin Guildford The Drummond Arms
Forester and Firkin Stafford The Firkin
Fornax and Firkin South Harrow Star
Formula and Firkin Weybridge Hand and Spear
Fort and Firkin Windsor Browns
Forum and Firkin Bath O'Neills
Fo'c's'le and Firkin Hull
Foundry and Firkin Sheffield The Beehive
Fourpence and Firkin Leicester O'Neills
Fowl and Firkin Coventry The Aardvark Scream
Fox and Firkin Lewisham, London Original name the Black Bull. Retains the name The Fox and Firkin although has been known simply as the Fox. The TCG Group
Francis and Firkin Chatham, Kent The Old Post Office
Franklin and Firkin Canterbury The Old Buttermarket
Freebooter and Firkin Plymouth
Freedom and Firkin Tooting, London The George (now Gardenhouse)[7]
Freelance and Firkin Dundee Duke's Corner
Freestyle and Firkin Bradford now closed
Freetrader and Firkin Bristol The Crown
Fresher and Firkin Cambridge Tivoli J D Wetherspoon
Friar and Firkin Central London The Rocket Scream
Friary and Firkin Lancaster The Friary Scream
Friesian and Firkin Clapham, London Originally the Bull's Head, subsequently the Calf Castle Mitchells & Butlers
Fringe and Firkin Shepherd's Bush, London O'Neills
Frog and Firkin Central London Name first applied in 1981 to London's third Firkin pub, the former Tavistock Arms in Tavistock Crescent W11. The pub was used as location for the film Withnail and I (1987). This ceased to be a Firkin in 1992 and went through several subsequent names including Babushka's, the Mother Black Cap and the Tavistock before being demolised in 2010 and replaced with flats. The Frog and Firkin name was transferred to the Elgin in Ladbroke Grove, which has since reverted to its original name. Geronimo (Young's)
Fruit and Firkin Bracknell The Goose Goose
Fruitmaker and Firkin Glasgow O'Neills
Fuggle and Firkin Oxford Goose
Fugitive and Firkin Norwich The Lawyer
Fullback and Firkin Leicester Polar Bear Scream
Fulmar and Firkin Holborn, London Parker Place [Currently Closed, undergoing refurbishment]
Furlong and Firkin Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire The Cornerhouse
Furze and Firkin Streatham, London
Fusilier and Firkin Camden Lock, London
Fuzz and Firkin Portsmouth Became Goose at the V&A in 2001, Renamed Victoria and Albert in 2013
Fuzzock and Firkin Leicester The Donkey
Goose and Firkin Southwark, London The Duke of York Shepherd Neame
Phalanx and Firkin York The Priory Town
Phantom and Firkin Plaistow London (demolished 2002)
Phantom and Firkin Loughborough Phantom Scream
Pharaoh and Firkin Fulham, London Located in a converted former Temperance Billiard Hall dating from 1910. After a period as an O'Neill's now renamed The Temperance. Stonegate
Pheasant and Firkin London The Old Ivy House
Philanderer and Firkin Oxford The Jericho
Philanthropist and Firkin St Albans O'Neills
Philatelist and Firkin Bromley, London O'Neills
Philosopher and Firkin Oxford The University and City Arms
Phizog and Firkin Newport The Six Bells
Phoenix and Firkin Camberwell, London The Phoenix (Name chosen because the pub rose out of ruins after the listed building of Denmark Hill railway station was destroyed by fire in the 1980s.)
Photographer and Firkin Ealing, London O'Neills
Phrenologist and Firkin Slough The Assembly
Physician and Firkin Edinburgh The Crags Scream
Physio and Firkin Leicester The Phizz! Now demolished
Ffesant and Firkin Bangor The Hen Glan

Note: The full name of the Ferret and Firkin, in Chelsea, was "The Ferret and Firkin in The Balloon Up The Creek". This referenced the original name of the pub - The Balloon - and its location, Chelsea Creek.

Canadian Firkin Pubs[edit]

Firkin Name City Province
Badger & Firkin Etobicoke ON
Bear & Firkin Pickering ON
Beaver & Firkin Scarborough ON
Bull & Firkin Toronto ON
Churchmouse & Firkin Toronto ON
Crown & Firkin Whitby ON
Drake & Firkin Mississauga ON
Falcon & Firkin Richmond Hill ON
Falls & Firkin Niagara Falls ON
Ferret & Firkin Toronto ON
Fiddle & Firkin Cambridge ON
Filly & Firkin Aurora ON
Flatiron & Firkin Toronto ON
Fox & Firkin Toronto ON
Friar & Firkin Toronto ON
Frigate & Firkin Brampton ON
Frog & Firkin North York ON
Goose & Firkin Don Mills ON
Gull & Firkin Toronto ON
Hare & Firkin Mississauga ON
Lion & Firkin Newmarket ON
Moose & Firkin Woodbridge ON
Owl & Firkin Markham ON
Pheasant & Firkin North York ON
Quail & Firkin Toronto ON
Spitfire & Firkin Tecumseh ON
Squire & Firkin Etobicoke ON
Swan & Firkin Toronto ON
Tannery & Firkin Kitchener ON
Wolf & Firkin Toronto ON
Frog & Firkin Vancouver BC
Firkin & Knight Ottawa ON

U.S. Firkin Group Pubs[edit]

Firkin Name City State Year Est.
Firkin & Phoenix Houston TX 2006
Firkin & Kegler Orlando FL 2008
Firkin & Hound South Riding VA 2006 (Closed 2008)
Firkin & Hound Visalia CA 2008 (Closed 2012)
Firkin & Frog Vancouver WA 2008 (Closed 6/2009)
Firkin & Frigate Newport News VA 2006 (Closed 3/27/11)
Firkin & Friar Tucson AZ 2007 (Closed 2009, Opened as "Canyon's Crown")
Firkin & Crown Cumming GA 2009 (Closed)
Firkin & Fox Albany NY 2005 (Closed 04/09 - now is under a new name)
Firkin & Pheasant Chicago IL 2009 (Closed)
Firkin & Fox Burton MI 2005
Firkin & Fox Carson City NV 2008
Firkin & Wolf Reno NV 2010 (Closed)
Firkin & Fox Glen Ellyn IL 2006 (Closed 08/07 Now the "Tap House")
Firkin & Fox Des Moines IA 2007 (Closed 06/09)
Firkin & Fox Dulles VA 2006
Firkin & Fox Modesto CA 2008
Firkin & Fox Morgantown WV 2007 (Closed 2008)
Firkin & Bull Wichita KS 2008 (Closed 2010)
Firkin & Beaver Tracy CA 2008 (Closed January 2010)
Firkin & Lindbergh Atlanta GA 2009 (Closed)
Firkin & Gryphon Atlanta GA 2010 (opened 12/8/10, Closed)
Firkin & Fox Bradenton FL 2008 (Closed)
Firkin & Bulldog Stafford VA 2008 (Closed)

Continental European pubs[edit]

Firkin Name Location Country Current Name Current Brand
Fiddler and Firkin The Hague Netherlands Fiddler
Florin and Firkin Utrecht Netherlands Florin

References[edit]

External links[edit]