There aren’t many around yet but the idea of the micropub has really taken off. No music, no lager, no jukebox or fruit machines just good, real ale and a friendly chat.
Many micropubs don’t have a traditional bar just a sink, some barrels and a good pint. There is no gastro pub food, just a few nibbles like pork scratchings and peanuts and an everchanging selection of real ales from small, independent and local breweries.
It’s usually a small premise – no bigger than a corner shop or an off-license but with a great atmosphere.
In Lancashire there is only one so far, The Snug in Carnforth, which was a former ladies clothing shop at the railway station and there is The Chequers in Beverley, East Yorkshire.
The no nonsense straight-forward approach to pubs is something that harks back to a much simpler time when your local free of all the gimmicks of modern chains. It has a back to basics feel that strips away the pretense of excess.
Boarded up windows and creaking haphazard signs are the vision of pubs these days, with so many closing down each year or being turned into shops or even homes. It is unbelievable how something which was once the pinnacle of our community life, the heart of the village or the hub of the town where you could go for good, quality ale and a chat with like-minded people, is now failing so badly. Landlords are resorting to gimmicks, pub quizzes, cheap two for one offers on cocktails, meal deals and music to entice in the clubbers before they go clubbing. They’re worlds apart but in light of the failing pub industry it seems like micropubs are the way forward. They’re incredibly successful in places like Kent and London and now the idea has really caught on.
The no frills venue of a micropub seems to fit us northerners straight talking ways perfectly and with low set up costs and less demanding hours this means that even if you never considered being a landlord, you might consider being a micropub landlord.
Here are five easy steps to becoming a micropub landlord:
Find a site. This is obviously the most important. An old shop is perfect. A clothes shop, a butchers- it utilises a closed shop as well.
Get a licence. The Licensing Act 2003 has made this far easier but as this is down to the local councils your chance of success will depend on where you are in the country. You will need two licences, a personal and premises licence. Get some equipment. This isn’t hard as they sell ale and little else. You will need to find some furniture, bar stools, a couple of tables which can be purchased on auction sites or pre-loved websites. Hand pumps and beer cask stands can even be found on eBay.
Get good contacts. It’s a good idea to build up your contacts with local breweries in the area and you can guarantee there will be plenty of them.
There has been a huge surge in microbreweries recently with over 5,200 different kinds of ale produced in the UK.
Microbreweries are popping up all over the place which means more choice, more variety and the opportunity for brewers to really experiment. They are particularly prevalent in Yorkshire which has the highest of any region in the UK and have been set up in some extraordinary places including a former dairy farm and on old school house.
It also means that Britain’s love of quirky named ales and a need to go back to having locally produced drinks as opposed to mass production by corporate company’s means that these have become increasingly successful.
And it’s not just nostalgic older men, crowded round the bar on a Saturday night that is enjoying real ale. A much younger set of drinkers are encouraging the variety of ales that are now being brewed and not only that but it’s no longer just men at all. More women are experimenting with new hops and old favourites and are also more likely to go to the pub and order a Lancashire Witches Brew than they ever were before.
With the changing face of the pub industry transforming and the demand for this kind of real ale increasing, it’s not surprising that so many breweries and micropubs are setting up and really taking off.
It’s the nostalgic feel of the community pub rolled back into Britain and the idea that now small production in your local area is much better than mass produced froth.