From time on their hands to time please ... Blackpool pals launch new real ale bar

Two Blackpool pals left with time on their hands thanks to lockdown are set to realise a long held dream and open their own real ale bar.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 12:30 pm

Paul Higham and Garry Daw are the brains behind the Thirsty? Alehouse in Church Street which is set to welcome customers on May 17 as the next stage of the roadmap to recovery begins.

The pair had been talking about setting up their own watering hole for about ten years, before the coronavirus crisis left them out of work from the travel sector. So they decided to take the plunge, go into business for themselves and build the kind of bar they have always wanted to drink in.

The Thirsty? Alehouse, which used to be a nail bar, is divided into three sections. The front is designed like a traditional pub, the rear section has the look of a Scandinavian bier-kellar, while the middle section is decorated in tribute to the pair's favourite nightclub, the famous Hacienda once owned by band New Order and Factory Records in Manchester.

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Thirsty? Alehouse will be opening soon on Church St in Blackpool. Pictured are Garry Daw and Paul Higham.

Paul said: "We were sitting in Cask Micropub and talking it over and thought the first thing would be to find the right premises. Then literally two days later, I drove past this building and saw it was free. We came to have a look and it had a massive extension on the back which was a bonus and, even better, it had a cellar, which many micropubs don't have.

"It was perfect. It's a good location, there's plenty of offices down Church Street and we are near Number 3 and Raikes Hall, so it is a busy area.

"Real ale is our big thing and we will have six on rotation, mainly from local breweries here, the lakes and the North generally. We will also have Cornish Rattler on, a Prahva, a Berliner and Dead Pony Club from Brew Dog, plus gins and vodkas.

"The front of the house is done out in pub style and the middle is our homage to the Hacienda, which we used to go to, industrial style with the diagonal stripes on the pillars, bollards and lots of pictures of the Hacienda and the bands."

The alehouse is divided into three main areas including a traditional bar

The pub will also offer tapas-style bar snacks and pizzas from its own pizza oven.

Paul said they are just adding the final touches now, with a bit more work to do in the cellar, but the bar and equipment is installed and working.

Garry said: "We have done it all ourselves. We had the idea in September, got the keys in November and have been working hard on it ever since. Most of the bar has been built using reclaimed wood. The actual bar is built out of scaffolding planks sanded down and varnished and the signs are from pallets.

"When we got it, it was basically just wooden floor boards plastered walls, so it has taken some work!

Paul Higham tests the hand-pulled ale

"I am a massive New Order and Joy Division fan so when we were looking at adding some colour to the middle bar area, we thought of putting the stripes on the three pillars which support the building.

"We have had a lot of help and advice from Vin Hamer from Rock Solid Brewery, at Hoo Hill, and we will be carrying one of his beers all the time. Some real ale pubs have just four pumps, we will have six."

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The middle section's decor takes its themes form the Manchester nightclub The Hacienda where Paul and Garry used to go
They aim to have six real ales on all the time