Updated: The Story Behind the Closing of Britannia Arms in Aptos

A favorite pub for many, "The Brit" closed its doors on Monday.

Earlier this week, customers hoping to sip a pint at their favorite pub, the Britannia Arms, found it to be closed.

There was no sign on the door offering explanation, and on Wednesday morning, jukeboxes were removed from the building, signifying that this may just be a permanent closure.

Andy Hewitt, owner, says that there are still negotiations pending with the landlord, but that the reasons for the closure are economic—the rent was simply too high to keep up with in the current economic slump.

"People can't afford to go out. A lot of people used to come down once a week, and they come down once every five months now," said Hewitt on Friday.

"With the we economy we cannot support $100,000 a year of rent there, and it's getting worse and worse," he said.

At the height of the economy, Hewitt owned eight Britannia Arms pubs, but the Carmel and Aptos closures leave six remaining—four in San Jose and one in Capitola.

"It's sad because the Aptos one was the nicest of them all," said Hewitt.

The community appears to be as heartbroken as the owner. One patron even left a lit candle with a note on the doorstop of the closed pub, saying how much he misses it already, said Hewitt. 

"I thank all of the community for the last 18 years and you know one day maybe we'll be back. If the new redevelopment plan goes in and we get some more foot traffic maybe we'll be back one day. I've had a wonderful time there for 18 years, the people in Aptos were lovely, I feel like I let a lot of them down," Hewitt said between customers at the Capitola location.

A lot of the staff and many of the customers have transfered to the Capitola location, which is thriving thanks to the heavy tourist traffic. 

"Aptos has become just a sleepy little village," Hewitt said, and hopes that the Aptos redevelopment plan, which he says has been being discussed for the past 20 years, is put into action.

While the fate of the pub remains up in the air, Hewitt says he recieved two discreet phone calls from people he didn't know, interested in purchasing his liquor license. 

The Aptos pub, located at 8017 Soquel Drive, has been a favorite since 1995.

Jill Fiamma November 30, 2012 at 05:41 AM
This breaks my heart. And Andy, I really hope you are taking care of your Aptos employees who have been there for longer than some of the Capitola employees. Our thoughts go out to our favorite server, Shannon, and all the other employees at the Aptos location. They made it a great time on all of our Friday night date nights and we will miss the staff and the location dearly. ~ J & R
Always Question November 30, 2012 at 01:49 PM
From the scant information in this article, it sounds like maybe the landlord increased the rent, or refused to renew the lease. That, of course, is just my opinion as I do not have any "inside" information. IF that is the case, I wonder what the landlord as in mind for that location, because, logically, if he/she makes it impossible for an ongoing successful business to be there, he/she must have something else in mind to be there. Again, just my personal opinion.
Dave Martone November 30, 2012 at 03:44 PM
We will miss The Brit. Always a great place to celebrate a birthday or watch "the game".
Chris Korbein November 30, 2012 at 04:04 PM
pressure from the landlord or its neibors about the biker events held there maybe???? Being in a local club I've seen this before, pressure from police and the other local business being scared by harleys and BBQs , sad if it is.
Brian A November 30, 2012 at 05:56 PM
The Brit was a great place and girls along with Roger made it feel like home. Will really miss the memories there. Cheers to all and I hope they all land in good places.
Maria Grusauskas November 30, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Yeah it is sad. I'll update the article as soon as I have more information.
Jayme Kelly Curtis December 01, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Heartbreaking. The annual Spring songwriters showcase has become a Santa Cruz tradition. My best wishes to the staff, especially "Tess The Best.
Mike DeMars December 02, 2012 at 07:20 AM
This sucks. I had been going there for years. I have friends that work there. I hope that they all didn't lose their jobs. I don't want to watch football anywhere else. It was my favorite spot.
Sandra December 05, 2012 at 04:30 AM
He doesn't care about his employees
Sandra December 05, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Truth be known, Andy did not pay his rent, taxes and vendors.
Sandra December 05, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Please update with the facts. Andy did not pay his rent or his taxes. That is why it is closing.
Jessica Rabbit December 05, 2012 at 01:37 PM
@ Sandra, you sound like a disgruntled former employee. The business' finances are none of anyones business. If you were somehow impacted by the fiscal practices, consult an attorney, or go to small claims court. But for heavens sake... Let people mourn the loss of their favorite watering hole!! See y'all in Capitola!
Aptos December 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM
The employees showed up to work and there was a note on the closed door. No notice, nothing. They had no idea and that's all they got. So no, he doesn't care about them. What a great thing to do right before the holiday's.
Owen December 06, 2012 at 05:55 AM
I used to go there a lot. I stopped. Why? Because it became a dump. Poorly managed. The owner, not economy or landlord, is to blame. There is plenty of money in Aptos that gladly supports well run restaurants.
Nicholas H December 06, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Does anyone know how to reach Roger?
Bill February 04, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Actually, the Brit was a great location and great atmosphere. But the food was really poor and the beer was expensive (and sometimes the lines seemed to need to be cleaned). People aren't going out to eat? Walk down the street to Burger or the BBQ place, and check it out.
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