Punters were sad to see these four Watford pubs and bars close, here is what is happening to get them back open.

No new owners have come in and brought the units formerly occupied by Barrio, Pryzm, The Estcourt Arms, and The Columbia Press back into operation yet. However, there are reasons to think each one might return.

Here is what we know about the venues' futures.


Watford Observer: The Barrio unit.The Barrio unit. (Image: Stephen Danzig)

Many might know this large unit in The Parade better as Bosleys, because Barrio was only open in it for nine months.

When its owner, Nightcap, closed Watford's Barrio down in June last year, it said that the move was only “for the summer”.

The venue never reopened and was made available for a lease until 2042 in March this year.                                                                                  

Whoever takes up the lease would likely reopen the venue as a different bar or restaurant. The property description highlights the licence to sell alcohol until 1am and fully fitted commercial trade kitchen.


Watford Observer: Images attached to the Pryzm unit listing on Rightmove.Images attached to the Pryzm unit listing on Rightmove. (Image: Rightmove)

The nearby former Pryzm unit closed after a final New Year's Eve party at the end of last year.

Ahead of the closure, a brochure for the £6,000,000 listing had already confirmed the nightclub had to be vacant by January 5 and highlighted potential alternative uses for the site including co-living and self-storage.

Since then, Pryzm owners Rekom has called in administrators and workers have been seen removing rubbish from the unit. However, the bar itself has apparently been left intact, potentially leaving the door open to reopening as a club.

The listing remains online. The property consultant selling the unit has not commented on whether there are still plans to bring it back into operation as a nightclub.

The Estcourt Arms

Watford Observer: The Estcourt Arms. The Estcourt Arms. (Image: Stephen Danzig)

The Estcourt Arms, in St Johns Road, shut down when its landlords left on November 19, last year.

It was boarded up while the building’s owner, Heineken subsidiary Star Pubs and Bars, carried out repairs in January.

A month later, it shared an advert looking for someone to take over the tenancy and run the pub.

The advert for the position is still live and the Watford Observer has approached Star Pubs and Bars to find out whether a potential new tenant has been identified.

The Columbia Press

Watford Observer: The Columbia Press unit in February.The Columbia Press unit in February. (Image: Newsquest)

After being on the market for months, Wetherspoon location The Columbia Press finally closed in February last year. It was then placed on the market and sold by the end of the year.

A business called SOBE Restaurant Management Group Limited said it planned to open a bar restaurant called Jardin, Mexican Concina and Tequilla Bar in the unit. It appeared that the opening date was set for late 2023 or early 2024.

Since then, there has been no update from the business on its plans for the unit.