The North West's First Micropub. CAMRA Pub of the Year 2013. Find us in the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 CAMRA Good Beer Guides.


Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Walls Come Tumbling Down

For the first time in nearly a year, not forgetting the frequent periods on and off over the last five years, there is no scaffolding around The Snug. Mike from Carnforth Models kindly sent us the photos earlier this week when we were having a break away before we reopen, provisionally on February 23rd.

Although we've missed The Snug and all our pals we have enjoyed a break since October and the time has really flown. In a previous existence I worked for medical charities mostly, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and training and awareness raising. Inevitably many of the volunteers I worked with were retired and so many used to tell me that they were so busy they had no idea how they ever had time to work. We now know what they mean. Having said that we are really excited at getting cracking again and we have already started preparing.

After the scaffolding the fencing across the front of the station came down next. Thanks again to Mike for the picture. That was when we really started to feel that we were on our way back. Driving into the station now you would never guess that we'd had months of portacabins and fencing hiding the historic frontage of the station. That was the first thing we did when we got home yesterday, drive into the station to have a peep through the window to see how the new decorating looks. The redundant platform is still sealed off until 14 February so we had to peer through the front windows like a couple of orphans. Almost as momentous as the Berlin Wall coming down!

We are now in the process of selecting the first delivery of beers and we are planning some really spectacular new ones as well as some old favourites. There is a very special one making an appearance and we are off to Manchester on Monday to sort that one which we hope to have on when we have our grand reopening night.

We have already ordered our new ciders, again some new but we will stay loyal to old favourites. We will also be stocking an improved range of sort drinks, something exciting we think for the poor old drivers.

So that's our big news for now but I'm sure there will be so much happening before February 23rd that we will be posting on here again before then.

Please don't forget that you can also keep up with our news on Twitter (@TheSnugMicropub) and Facebook (https://facebook.com/TheSnugMicropub/)
https://youtu.be/k5HfOipwvts


Monday, 8 January 2018

Good News

We were told this morning that the works should be completed and the building handed back to Network Rail on January 30th. The date that we should have access to prepare for re-opening is now February 14th. Our period of leisure is drawing to a close.

If anybody would care to come along a few of us are heading into Lancaster for a few drinks on Saturday afternoon (13 Jan). We will be getting the 13 03 train from Carnforth but feel free to join us if meeting up in Lancaster is easier. Just contact me on 07927 396861 to check where we will be.

See you all soon.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Happy Christmas Everybody

Jules next to the bar.
Last week we went into The Snug for the first time since we closed in October and it really is looking good.

The plastering is well on now and the toilet floor has been replaced, there will also be new toilets and wash basins going in. The ceiling has yet to be replaced but it looks quite good looking up and seeing beams above. But it really does need a ceiling.

We were there primarily to let the lads know what colours we wanted the walls painting and what colour floor coverings we wanted but the really good news is that, as things stand, the provisional date for the contractors to hand the building back to Network Rail has been brought forward from February 19th to February 14th. Of course things can change, as we have learnt from bitter experience this year, but that is encouraging.

As things progress we will keep you updated here and via Twitter (@TheSnugMicropub) and Facebook (https://m.facebook.com/TheSnugMicropub)

So that's it for this year unless anything dramatic happens. The next time we blog will be the month before we re-open.

Thank you all for your support and friendship over the last five years and especially your continued support and friendship since we closed in October. We both wish you all a wonderfully happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Snug Life Story-Part 2

After opening on August 1st 2012 we soon developed a great group of regulars made up of locals and tourists be they weekenders or holidaymakers here for a week or two. We then got to thinking about extra little things we could do and I always remembered local pubs in East Manchester running trips out for regulars a few times a year. It was something that seemed to die out apart from exceptional places where there would still be a trip to Blackpool or a race meeting, so that's what we decided to do.

Our first trip was in December 2012 to the Marble Arch pub in Manchester including a brewery tour. The picture left is the December 2013 trip when we took advantage of the hold of the coach to also return empty casks which the regulars kindly took down the hill to the brewery for us. Until this year the Manchester trip became our regular Christmas trip.

Other trips have included Liverpool, the wonderful Hawkshead Brewery and Unsworth's Yard in Cartmel. We have also visited Chester, Skipton and Settle, Ulverston Brewery and the Prince of Wales at Foxfield.

In Cartmel we always seem to get good weather and enjoy sitting in Unsworth's Yard drinking beer from Peter Unsworth's brewery, wine from Davd Unsworth's fantastic wine and spoirit shop and cheese from the Cartmel Cheese Shop. Happy days indeed

David Unsworth has also helped us raise money for Help for Heroes by generously hosting a gin tasting evening in The Snug where we sampled a huge range of gins from all over the world while David gave us a very interesting and humorous history of gin. When we re-open in February we hope that David will be returning to broaden our horizons with some more tasting evenings.

We have also had a wine tasting evening with the Lancashire Wine School which everybody enjoyed and found highly informative and which again raised funds for Help for Heroes. We have also held various quiz nights and cheese and port evenings to raise funds.

In November 2013 we held our first beer festival which we touched on briefly in our last post. Since then we have had three more festivals with over 35 real ales and ciders last year. The festival has been held in The Snug and the Midland and Furness Hall in the Heritage Centre The £2 admission fee goes to the Station Heritage Trust, and we have averaged a donation of around £1000 each year.

This year we had our inaugural gin festival to celebrate World Gin Day on June 10th. Jules had the unenviable task of sourcing the 25 gins which involved a great deal of sampling which the poor woman found extremely arduous as you'll appreciate. But source them she did and there were some wonderful gins, many of which we now stock on a permanent basis. We knew gin was popular but nothing prepared the three of us on the bar that day for quite how busy we would be. Marc was superb, as ever, and Vicky worked really hard in the kitchen keeping on top of washing glasses. True team work that day.

Again we are reviewing arrangements for future festivals while we are 'resting' so watch this space.

For a couple of years we also had The Snug Ukulele Group which entertained at a couple of beer festivals and met monthly when we were closed on Mondays. Again this idea is something we are looking at and several ideas have been thrown in the melting pot for next year. Yet again, watch this space.

The first Saturdays of most months at The Snug are now synonymous with Thai Street Food. Even last weekend we had an enquiry from somebody wanting to know if there would be Thai food available on Saturday.

Of course when we re-open Amporn and Eric will be back bringing their wonderful Thai food for people to enjoy. In the meantime you can find out where they are cooking next by visiting their website: Thai Kitchen In Lakeland.

Finally we have The Snug Fantasy Premier League which is now in its fourth season. This season we have 29 teams contesting and we are introducing our own league cup in the New Year which will be fought for on a knock out basis. Good luck to all involved and, if you missed out this season, watch out for details of how to enter over the summer for the start of the 2018/19 season.

On the prospect of the next football season being 2018/19 I will leave you with a question: Where does the time go?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Snug Life Story-Part 1

The Snug at the moment.

Well here we are, just over five weeks into our enforced period of rest and we are now starting to plan for re-opening at the end of February.

The first three weeks we were busy with all kinds of business stuff but things have now settled down and we are starting to relax. We really have missed The Snug and all our friends but before we know it, we'll be back.

Since we opened in August 2012 we have raised over £5,000 for various charities from Help for Heroes to Bells for St George and Guide Dogs. Thank you to all for your continued generosity.

Some of the charities have been really curious about The Snug and the concept of "the micropub" so now seems as good a time as any for us to review the last five years and take stock. This post is part of that process. 

We were the first micropub to open in the North West back in 2012. A very basic definition of a micropub is a small single room establishment, we are 300 sq ft, selling real ale, real cider, wine and soft drinks with only bar snacks available rather than carveries, chicken in the basket and burgers. We have been a bit naughty and now offer a range of around 20 gins.

We read about micropubs in the Sunday Times in March 2012 and immediately wanted one, the perfect opportunity to develop the kind of pub we would want to frequent. No TV, no jukebox, no noisy gaming machines just good drink in a cosy atmosphere with good company and good conversation. We found our premises at the station, went through the licencing and planning processes, built our own pub and opened our doors for the first time on 1st August 2012. 

July 2012-preparing to open.
The key thing to developing a micropub is originality. We were driven by the chance to develop something unique that can't be found anywhere else, otherwise you may as well just buy into a conventional pub. We were the seventh micropub in the country.

Largely due to a lack of space we had to consider where our "cellar" was going to be. We didn't have a cellar so we had the idea of building one behind the bar which has become one of our big features.

Above the casks we have space to stock our wines, ciders, bottled beers and soft drinks. Within a year of opening our "cellar" wasn't big enough and we had to have it extended to hold ten casks.

When it came to selecting beers we listened to our customers, some of whom resemble walking talking beer encyclopaedias and their knowledge was invaluable when sourcing our beers and ciders. Gradually we built our list of contacts and have been able to source many beers that had never been found in our area before. A few weeks before we closed we were the first pub outside Bolton to offer beers from Northern Monkey brewery. Again originality being a constant objective of ours even after five years.

When we first opened we used to visit pubs in the area to see what beers they had on. Our intention was not to copy but to avoid duplicating. Why offer what the other pubs have on? We played an interesting game of cat and mouse with a few local breweries who eventually accepted that we wanted to establish The Snug as an original. We were doing it our way. Once we established ourselves we obviously began stocking local beers, we have many tourists visiting us who want to try local beers, but we had to build our own identity and not just ape others.

By December 2012 we began to run trips from The Snug, the first being to Marble Brewery and the Christmas Markets. Since then we have been on numerous trips to breweries and towns with quality pubs throughout the North West and will be organising more when we re-open in the New Year. We have also had special fundraising events for our various charities including gin tasting, wine tasting, quiz nights and cheese and port evenings amongst others.

Our first beer festivalposter.
In November 2103 we held our first beer festival which was a great success and quickly became an annual event which was recently listed as one of the top six food and drink events in the county by Lancashire Life magazine. Sadly this year's festival has had to be cancelled because of the building work at the station. In the meantime we are giving considerable thought to next year when we plan to come back bigger and even better.

This is an opportune time to once again thanks all our volunteers who made our first four beer festivals not only possible but also so successful. We really do appreciate your generosity and hard work.

Food plays a big part in the life of The Snug. When we lived in London local pubs would put cheese and roast potatoes on the bar for customers on a Sunday lunchtime. Especially appreciated at the end of the month when money was tight! We shamelessly stole this idea when we started opening on Sundays and in no time Sunday lunchtime developed in to a full blown Jacob's Join with people bringing in their favourite nibbles to share with everybody. Mike's bangers and Roly's canapes spring readily to mind but others bring in delicious contributions too.

Our friends Eric and Amporn (Thai Kitchen Lakeland) spent the first Saturday of the Month with us until we closed last month setting up their mobile kitchen in our outdoor area and offering delicious Thai street food from 12 00 until late. Happily they will be back with us in the New Year, especially when we have our grand re-opening.

We must mention Chippy Friday when regulars bring in chips to share and last but not least Wigan Bob's delicious home made pies on a Saturday lunch for which he only asks a donation in our Help for Heroes tin.

One of the wisest things anybody said when we were planning to open was that opening a micropub isn't just a job or a business, it's a way of life. Colin at the Conqueror micropub in Ramsgate was spot on. There have been difficult times inevitably, but they are are massively outweighed by the good times and the wonderful people we have met over the last five years.

So there we are, what we have been intending to write for our charities who have enquired what we are all about for at least two years but only now have found the time. We hope this post is informative and that you are looking forward to our re-opening after the structural repairs are completed in February as much as we are.

Looking on the bright side when we do re-open it will be the first time we will have a micropub that doesn't leak when it rains and is properly ventilated. Thanks to Julie's lobbying of Network Rail the rotten toilet floors are also being replaced so the smell of damp in the loos will be gone too.

Until then we will be updating our Facebook and Twitter accounts with interesting drink related events nearby, as well as updates on the building works, on a regular basis so please keep in touch.





Thursday, 28 September 2017

Latest News

Our last day open until February, due to major structural work on the building, will be on Monday (2nd Oct) but we are going off with a bang.

We will have our usual range of wonderful beers on this weekend and what better than welcoming our friends Thai Kitchen back on Saturday from 12 00 'til late? Delicious, freshly cooked Thai street food available all day to eat with us or to take away.

There will be nibbles on the bar on Sunday from 12 30 until 4 30. There will also be something to soak up your beer on Monday from 5 00 until 9 00 with our usual delicacies and anything our ever generous regulars bring in for us all to enjoy.

Our estimated re-opening date is February but we are currently looking at some exciting possibilities for opening up in temporary accomodation as near to The Snug as we can. We will keep you informed as things develop.

Looking on the bright side when we do re-open we will finally be in a dry, adequately ventilated building which, for the first time since we opened in 2012, won't leak when it rains.

Hope to see you over the next few days and we will be keeping everybody updated on developments via here, Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Another Update

We have now been informed that we will have to vacate The Snug on 5th October for the structural work on the building to begin. At least I can have the day off on my birthday this year which is October 6th.

We were not so impressed when told that we would be out until February 19th next year. This is after being told repeatedly this last nine months that we would need to be out for around four to six weeks.

We are hoping that Network Rail will accept that this is unreasonable and will ensure that the work is done in a way that reduces our length of closure.

We will keep you informed.