A former landlord who brought live music to The Horns has reacted to its closure and explained the struggle to bring about its heyday.

The Horns announced the “heartbreaking” news on Tuesday that it had closed on Sunday, October 30 “for the last time”.

However, Jane Giles, who took over in 2015 said she is still “fighting” to keep it open and “talks are ongoing with the brewery”.

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Denis Cook took over the pub with his wife Pam in 2001 and managed it until 2009.

He reflected on his own time running the Horns but said he “wouldn’t want to be a publican now” as “it’s no time to be running any pub” due to financial strain facing businesses.

Watford Observer: Horns house band in 2009 Denis Cook in white shirtHorns house band in 2009 Denis Cook in white shirt (Image: Denis Cook)

The musician and former publican explained the history of the iconic live music scene at the Horns.

He said: “I’d never run a pub before, but we turned it into an extremely popular venue. I have so many great memories.”

Watford Observer: Mungo Jerry in The HornsMungo Jerry in The Horns (Image: Denis Cook)What set the pub apart in the early days was its license to have more than two musicians on stage, which was not easy to get.

Denis added: “I would sometimes join in with the acts playing at bars.

"But when I knew I would be taking over the Horns, and our neighbours were the town hall, I realised we couldn’t break the two-performer rule at all.

Watford Observer: The HornsThe Horns (Image: Denis Cook)

“I had to get the police, council, fire brigade, and licensing on side, which was difficult.

“We had to jump through a lot of hoops, sound proofing, redoing the doors, fire safety.”

Watford Observer: Vinnie Jones on stage in the HornsVinnie Jones on stage in the Horns (Image: Denis Cook)

“In the end I was surprised we could get the license. It was unique for a pub in those days.”

With its unique music scene, the Horns attracted big names such as Chas and Dave, Mungo Jerry, Vinnie Jones, and Peter Jackson as customers and acts in the 2000s.

Watford Observer: Peter Jackson outside The HornsPeter Jackson outside The Horns (Image: Denis Cook)

“It was a really massive part of the community at the time. I used to DJ there on a Friday and it would be full to a capacity of around 200 by 9pm.

“That was the type of atmosphere and scene we created at that time, which I have to say I’m very proud of.”

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