Ipswich: Former Grinning Rat landlord to take over Arboretum following controversial pub eviction

James Iannone, pictured at The Grinning Rat pub in Ipswich where he was the former landlord, has rev

James Iannone, pictured at The Grinning Rat pub in Ipswich where he was the former landlord, has revealed he is to move in to and revive the Arboretum pub near the town centre. - Credit: Archant

A landlord controversially evicted from a gay-friendly bar has revealed he is taking over and reopening a shut-down town centre pub tomorrow.

The Arboretum pub in High Streeet, Ipswich.

The Arboretum pub in High Streeet, Ipswich.

Former Grinning Rat landlord James Iannone, who failed in his bid to remain at the popular pub after Punch Taverns won an Ipswich County Court ruling on July 11, has spoken of his delight after being handed the keys to the Arboretum.

The 37-year-old was embroiled in a drawn out legal dispute after the tenants told him in April he had just a week to move out to make way for a new landlord.

Mr Iannone maintains he transformed the pub into a “thriving, gay-friendly community pub” after signing a Tenancy at Will contract with a view to extending the deal to a five-year tenancy agreement with Punch Taverns in January.

He gained the backing of the Ipswich and East Suffolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale and more than 700 people signed an online petition in his support.

Punch Taverns said at the time his short-term agreement was on a temporary basis, giving the right for either party to withdraw at immediate notice.

But now Mr Iannone has told of his delight in taking over the reins at the Arboretum in High Street.

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He has signed a long-term privately-owned lease at the pub which closed three months ago. It reopens tomorrow at 6pm.

Mr Iannone said: “Following the success of The Grinning Rat, we are pleased to announce the opening of a new venture at the Arboretum on Saturday at 6pm.

“The Arboretum will be a pub/wine bar and food will become available as soon as possible after kitchen work is completed which will compliment our fine selection of beers.

“We are looking forward to welcoming old and new customers alongside our established LGBT clientele. We look forward to welcoming everyone at the Arboretum.”

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