Built in 1850, The Trinity Arms is named after the Trinity Asylum on Acre Lane, which was founded for poor women who professed belief in the Holy Trinity by Thomas Bailey. It is a landmark that has survived the Blitz and is a much-loved watering hole for old-time locals, young professionals, couples and gig-goers alike. Arts Editor Ruth Waters met Becky Sawyer, manager of The Trinity Arms.
“This pub is very hard to leave. Even though a couple of opportunities have come up, I just couldn’t leave,” Becky tells me, as we sit in a quiet corner of The Trinity Arms at half past twelve on a Sunday afternoon, regulars in quiet conversations and the beginning of the clattering of lunch cutlery surrounding us.
“We have long term regulars who seem to have been coming here since the beginning of time – certainly since I’ve been working here. They’ve become like family, everyone’s so friendly. It’s hard to imagine that being the case somewhere else.”
Becky has been managing The Trinity Arms for over five years and lives above the pub. Having originally studied video production, running a pub is something she fell into, but which now she couldn’t live without – although that’s not because it’s easy. “I work 55 hours in five days and look after my son, who’s three years old, on the other two. It’s pretty full on, especially as the trade kitchen is within our accommodation, so I can hear the chefs whistling from my room…but I love it.”
When I ask her how business is going at the moment, she smiles. “It’s busy all of the time. Crazy busy. When I first took the pub on it was much quieter, especially during the week. I used to have a rota of just five staff, I now have 12 or 13 staff on any one rota.”
“Our busy periods are from Wednesday through to Saturday night, when customers can be three deep at the bar waiting to be served. Sunday is busy in a different way, all day, with lots of food orders.There’s more pressure on the floor than the bar.”
“I have noticed changes in the clientele over the last couple of years. There’s now a lot more young professionals coming in; people coming in for the first time, and I think that’s why we’re consistently busy from Wednesday through to Sunday. It’s only Monday and Tuesday which are our quiet days and they catch us out sometimes.”
When I ask her whether working around alcohol and people drinking has affected her own attitude to drinking she is blase: “I know they say if you work in a pub you’re either teetotal or an alcoholic, but honestly it hasn’t put me off. We still go out and enjoy ourselves, but we don’t go mad.”
Becky has no intention of leaving The Trinity Arms in the next couple of years, and plans to stay managing pubs.