Ten of the quirkiest micropubs in Britain

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Wednesday 19 May 2021 16:11
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Micropubs are a drinking phenomenon of tiny pubs that embrace real ale and conversation.

The first in the UK was created in 2005 after changes to the Licencing Act made it easier to convert old shop fronts and disused properties into 30-40 person sized pubs.

In the last five years these conversions have taken off, and many of them are so recent that they're not even on Google Streetview yet.

The Micropub Association defines them as:

A small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks.

This ethos is part of the reason micropubs have been so successful. Apart from the draw of beer, there's no music to spoil the your conversation

In micropubs, nattering is once again welcome to rejoin its fellow cultural customs of beer mat flipping, crisp bag tearing and the delicate wiping of condensation from pint glasses.

There are also no TVs, no slot machines, and no extravagant food (not even chips served in prison-chic tin cups we all know and love).

The amber-tinged beauty of a micropub is they can be set up anywhere and they have been. Here are some of the quirkiest locations in Britain you can find a micropub, proof - if any were needed - that the British will go absolutely anywhere for a pint:

1. The Left Luggage Room, Tyne & Wear

Monkseaton Metro Station will soon be home to "The Left Luggage Room" micropub, after plans for the renewal were approved by North Tyneside council in early June. As well as being located in the disused lost property office, the new micropub will be next door to a children's centre - adding to the novelty of it's location.

2. Avron Ale House, Wales

Like many micropubs, this is a former empty shop front that's been imaginatively converted into a house of beer.

Drink here.

3. The Skipton Sound Bar, North Yorkshire

A Record Store transformed to add a Micropub at the back. What's not to love? Find this gem in Skipton.

Drink here.

4. The Vaults, Wiltshire

The street level part of the Vaults was once a passage way leader to a coach house, the basement below is twice the size and was once the Town Hall Wine Vaults (name, bingo).

Drink here.

5. Marlpool Brewery Ale House, Derbyshire

Located in a former butcher’s, this micropub has been extra thrifty using the pulpit from an old Methodist Chapel as the bar. Praise be to God.

Drink here.

6. The Chapel, Kent

Another act of small scale divine intervention, the Chapel in Broadstairs, Kent is located in a former chapel. There's been a chapel on the site since at least 1070, but the present micropub exists in one which was rebuilt in 1601 after vairous floods and fires. Unperturbed by such plagues, the place became a bookshop and now the owners of the Chapel have incorporated both shop and place of worship into something beautiful. We assume they use communion ale in place of wine.

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Drink here.

7. Butcher’s Arms, Kent

The first micropub, ever. This site set the tone for the ones that came after. Based in a former Butcher’s and owned by Martyn Hillier, who has since become something of a celebrity, opening other micropubs as the master of ceremonies. Here the bar is made from a butcher’s block. Located in Herne.

Drink here.

8. The Split Chimp, Tyne & Wear

This is 775 sq ft and set over two floors in a railway arch. Set up by Mark Hall in 2015, it's gone from strength to strength.

There's clearly something about trains and alcohol which are compatible, which is the same reason it's ok to open lager on a train at any hour of the day.

Drink here.

9. 10.50 from Victoria, Medway

Also built in an old railway arch, this Kentish micropub takes the railway theme all the way with beautiful signage, and the name is taken from number of the bridge: 1050. At the end of the line of bridges is Number 1 at Victoria Station, London.

Drink here.

10. Rutherfords Micropub

In an old knitting shop in Scottish Borders, this was Scotland’s first micropub. They've even converted an old sewing machine into a pub pump.

Here's co-owner Debbie Rutherford on what makes a good micropub:

Drink here.

Here's to the Micropub industry: bringing alcohol to the people and making us feel like giants all at the same time. Cheers.

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