Micro is the way to go for Blackpool bar Shickers - despite getting a big bigger

A small bar in Blackpool’s South Shore is a bit bigger these days after an extension and a revamp.

By Richard Hunt
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 5:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 2:45 pm

Shickers Micropub, on Waterloo Road, was first opened in 2020 just as the Covid pandemic was taking hold, not the easiest time to launch a new licenced premises.

But father-and-son combo Sean and Liam Johnston, the owners, know a thing or two about pubs and the bar has prospered.

What helped was a growing interest among the public in micropubs – small, independent watering holes offering something a bit different.

Co-owner of Shickers Liam Johnston behind the bar at Shickers in Blackpool. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Blackpool has a growing number of them as the trend continues to spread.

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Since opening two years ago, there has been an extension at Shickers, as Sean and Liam decided to acquire the empty nail salon next door and extend the premises to a 31-seater bar.

Sean, 65, is semi-retired these days but keeps his hand in, having run pubs all his life, including The Dunes and later The Gavell.

Exterior of Shickers Micropub in Blackpool. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Liam, 35, says: “I suppose you might call us a micropub but I’d say this is simply a real ale bar, where we serve something alternative – proper cask ale.

"We’re old school in that we are not interested in customers having to use an app to order a pint.

"I think that’s cold and impersonal, because the best thing about bars is the personal touch, meeting people you know and sitting down for a chat.

"Some people seem to be getting fed up of the bigger chain venues and that’s why micropubs are taking off.

Co-owner of Shickers Sean Johnston behind the bar at Shickers in Blackpool. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

"We get to know our customers personally and we know what they like.”

Liam and his dad run the pub on a split shift but are set to take on an extra member of staff imminently.

Among other things, the pub stocks local ales from the Fuzzy Duck Brewery and the Rock Solid Brewery, both based up the road in Poulton.

Despite getting bigger, Liam believes the micro approach is the way to go.

The new extension to Shickers Micropub in Blackpool. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

But why is it called Shickers?

"It’s a Blackpool thing, apparently. Some people here, in certain circles, have always said ‘Are you coming out for a few Shickers?’

"It’s a Yiddish word, meaning to get drunk. Why it got popular in Blackpool, I don’t know, but it seemed a great name for a bar!”