CONCERNS that Tranent may lose another pub have been raised after The Tower Inn was put up for sale, leaving only two other watering holes open in the town.

Owners Hawthorn Leisure put the Church Street pub on the market, with managers John and Tracy Reynolds finding out only the week before the pub reopened following the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on May 17.

Whispers and The Brig Inn are the only other pubs currently open in Tranent. The Keepers Arms is closed for refurbishment.

Husband and wife duo John, 57, and Tracy, 55, have run The Tower Inn together for the last eight years.

The pub has been a feature of Tranent for more than 100 years: a window in the corner of the bar is dated 1902.

Leaseholder John, who has lived in Tranent all his life and has worked in hospitality for 26 years, told the Courier he has been “a bit up and down” since he found out.

He said: “The thought of coming back after being off for so long, it’s been hard to push myself to get back. Then we were called for a meeting and told the news.

“I was a bit taken aback by it. I was hoping to go on for another couple of years.

“It’s not nice to see a lot of pubs shut down, it’s not giving people a lot of choice. I’m thinking about finishing, I’m just looking at different options at the moment but it may be time to move on to new things.”

While thanking their customers, the pair were concerned Tranent would lose “another landmark in the hospitality industry which serves the community”.

It was hoped the pub would continue to be used as such but a spokesperson for Hawthorn Leisure said it could not “confirm or control what the buyer will do with the property once it’s sold”.

John said: “For the town, I hope it stays open as a pub. If you look at what is happening with The New Plough, and it possibly turning into an Indian restaurant – that pub has been going for many generations so I hope The Tower can continue.”

The pub will remain open until the end of the current lease on January 27 next year under the current agreement with Hawthorn Leisure.

The Tower’s future is uncertain and depends on the new buyer’s intentions, with John adding that he was “waiting to see what happens”.

The Tower Inn is being sold by Chris Hart & Co for £130,000 plus VAT.

It describes the pub as “a building of character both internally and externally… with many interesting features”, with a turnover of about £3,000-£3,500 per week.

There is no kitchen, but the estate agent suggested adding one and using some of the lounge space to do so, “given the increasing demand for this service”.

It also referred to adjoining land which belongs to the Coal Authority, and recommended that enquiries be made to see if part of the land could be bought to extend the outdoor seating area and for a possible new kitchen extension.

Hawthorn Leisure also runs No.5 Duke Street (currently for sale) in West Barns, The Sportsman on Musselburgh High Street and Hole in the Wa’ on Musselburgh’s New Street.

The Hawthorn Leisure spokesperson said: “We’re always evaluating our pubs to make sure they fit in with our strategic priorities as a business.

“We’ve made the decision to sell The Tower Inn, and it is available for sale in line with the end of the current tenant’s lease.”