THE popular Kenley Hotel was forced to shut because it was operating without a licence, the Advertiser can reveal.
Mystery surrounded the Godstone Road pub's closure on February 22 with many locals fearing it had succumbed to the recession.
But the Advertiser has learned it was ordered to shut after the council realised the landlord had closed down the company which held the licence nearly a year beforehand.
Public records show landlord Chris O'Reilly had voluntarily struck off Hotelier Inn Ltd from the companies register in April last year.
A Croydon Council spokesman stressed there were no other problems reported over the pub's licence.
He said: "One of the officers was doing some routine checks and spotted that the company was no longer in existence, so asked them to stop trading."
Mr O'Reilly told the Advertiser he was adamant that his pub, well-known for its Thai menu and the piece of its bar reportedly once destined for the doomed Titanic, would reopen.
"Yes, it was in the wrong name so it is out at the moment," he said.
"I am sure we will be able to sort it out and will be able to reopen – it should not really have been a problem to be honest.
"Just seemed like a routine check, you know (from the council).
"It is in the hands of the solicitors now and they are dealing with it and as far as I am aware it should be sorted out."
The council said it had not received a new licence application. The pub's owners, Star Pubs & Bars, the leased pub business of Heineken in the UK, apologised for the inconvenience of the closure.
A spokesman said: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, there is currently a licensing issue regarding this pub."
Mr O'Reilly took over the pub's lease in 2010 after working behind the bar for three years.
Referring to the previous owners having to close, he said at the time: "I think this place could be a little goldmine because it's the only pub in this area.
"It would kill the community if this pub shut down for good so I just thought – right, I should take this over myself."