Press release 20190822 – Saving The Retreat

For immediate release
22 August 2019


Saving The Retreat

Reading most famous ‘back street boozer’ has been saved from an uncertain future by three local residents.

Dave Gray, Di Whitaker and Mark Birmingham, all long-term residents of ‘The Village’ Eldon Street Conservation Area, moved quickly last week to secure the suddenly available lease from Admiral Taverns and make safe their Landlord Brian Moignard.

Mark said, “Brian Moignard has been instrumental to the continued success of The Retreat.  Both Brian and The Retreat are dear to us all; to lose both was untenable. Dave suggested we secure the tenancy for the pub and we immediately agreed. None of us has substantial experience of the on-trade, so we’ll be relying on Brian’s extensive experience to guide us.”

The trio aims to make some subtle changes to the pub but vow not to lose the character of The Retreat which has become a Reading institution. They urge the local community to visit soon. The legendary Pickled Onion Contest, the popular Village Easter Festival and live music are all events that are guaranteed to continue.

The Village has three pubs: The Retreat, whose future has been secured by Dave, Di and Mark; The Lyndhurst which has just reopened with a good new team and The Eldon Arms which is scheduled to open this autumn under new ownership.

Dave and Di, noted local musicians, joked they are inadvertently The Retreat house band; in fact, their band will be performing live on Sunday 25 August with Hugh Crabtree’s PIG warming the house up on Saturday 24 August.


Notes for editors

  • The Retreat first opened in 1875.
  • Pub Heritage said of The Retreat, “A historic pub interior of regional importance.”
  • Pub upgraded recently and the pool table was removed.
  • The menu extends to crisps, nuts and pickled eggs. The Retreat is a real ale, award-winning, specialist pub that is recognised by CAMRA.

About the new tenants:

David Gray is an interior designer of note whose showroom is in Pangbourne. He is currently working on projects in France, Italy and the UK. Dave is also an accomplished guitarist who regularly performs in Reading. He has lived in the Village for over a decade.

Di Whitaker has been with BA for over 20 years and has been living in the Village for nearly a decade. Her previous careers included modelling with London agencies and she had her own catering business.

Mark Birmingham is a Producer who works on large scale theatrical productions and who is currently working on Kate Beckinsale’s new movie, Jolt. He has lived within sight of The Retreat for over 15 years.


All images on The Retreat website are free for media use.

Further information

The Retreat website:

Dave Gray – director
07780 995792

Kevin Harrington – marketing
07785 977777