A QUIET one-room micro-pub that shuts its doors at 8pm and doesn’t sell lager has opened in Greenhill Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Bill O’Brien, who lives in Shottery Road, Stratford, opened The Stratford Alehouse on Christmas Eve, just a couple of doors down from nightclub Chicago Rock which closed a few days earlier.
A far cry from the dance music and alcopops of Greenhill Street's nightclubs, there will be no hot food, no television, no music, no gaming machines, and no children.
Bill explained: “This is a return to basics and getting back to the traditional one-room local. All of our cask ales are locally-sourced from smaller breweries wherever possible.”
Beers will be on stillages, served straight from the barrel via gravity with no gas or line.
Cask ales, ciders, and wines will all be on sale, but there will be no alcopops, and no lager.
“We’ve perhaps got the only Premises Licence in the UK which actually forbids us to sell it!” said Bill.
There is no actual bar in the tiny micro-pub because drinks will be served to the tables. More importantly to customers, they all cost just £3.
Bill said: “With all due respect to Stratford’s town centre hostelries, due to excessive taxation they’ve had to change direction in order to thrive.
“This has resulted in the fact that they’re now mostly restaurants that just happen to sell expensive beer.”
Bill got his inspiration from spending the last couple of summer holidays in Kent with his wife Debbie.
Home to the majority of the UK’s 30 micro-pubs, it is where the concept first emerged.
“Many pubs are closing around the country but maybe that's because they aren't responding to consumer demand,” said Bill.
“We're family-run and our mission is to keep it simple, give the customer what they want at a decent price without compromising on quality and retain the personal touch.
“We have been carrying out renovations so as to inject some character into a unit that previously had no 'feel' to it,” said Bill.
The Stratford Alehouse opened at 3pm on Christmas Eve.
Although Greenhill Street is better known for its nightclubs, Bill sees that as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.
“It is a popular area which is good and, offering such a contrasting formula, should see us get well known pretty quickly,” he said.
Run day-to-day by general manager Phil Atherton, opening times are 11am-8pm Monday to Saturday and 11am-3pm Sunday.
There are discounts to paid-up Campaign for Real Ale members and it is hoped the business will be popular with railway passengers, local office workers, and of course Camra members.
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