The owners of Caskbar, a popular former pop-up pub in Darwen Market, are set to open brand new permanent premises in Darwen town centre.
We spoke to Anthony Rothwell, co-owner of the soon-to-be Caskbar in Darewn, to find out more about the pub he’ll be opening very soon.
“Our aim is to provide locals and visitors to the area a rotating line up of craft ales, cask and real ciders,” he said. “As well as a great selection of spirits, we’ll be selling bottles of craft ale form around the globe.”
Food-wise, drinkers needn’t worry. Nobody will go hungry thanks to a selection of traditional pub snacks on offer, including pork scratchings, ploughmans lunches and pickled eggs too.
Anthony says: “At our former premises, we prided ourselves in serving all our beers in the absolute top condition.”
Choice is important too, and he added: “As we constantly rotate our ales we use a variety of microbreweries far and near, but our aim is to try and give our customers an opportunity to try beers they may not otherwise get a chance to. We make an effort to avoid all big breweries.”
Something for everyone
The family’s bar on Darwen Market was met by a lot of intrigue because of its quirkiness, but built up a loyal crowd of regulars as well as visiting hardcore real ale fans. “They were impressed with the selection on offer despite the size of the pub,” he said. “We’ve also had a high number of women visiting our previous pub who weren’t keen on real ale, but after trying some of the blonde ales like Blonde Vixen from Wily Fox and Soft Mick from Northern Whisper, they quickly changed their minds.”
Caskbar’s previous incarnation saw beers like Dublin Up from Wily Fox, Stellar and Flaori Maori From Rammy Craft, Plum Porter by Titanic Brewery and Northern Best Bitter from Exit 33 brewery in Sheffield were all proven customer favourites.
“One of my favourites being a black stuff fan, is Northern Monkey’s Chocolate Treacle Porter,” says Anthony. “They say that Guinness is a meal in a glass, I say that this is the pudding. Also surprisingly (being a dark ale fan) I recently enjoyed a Hoppy Pale Ale from Darwen’s own Snaggletooth Brewery which was crafted specially for UCLan’s Lancashire Science Festival aptly named Be Er.”
The owners of the soon-to-be bar are looking forward to offering customers more time to sup their pints.
“Even though we had built a regular clientele base, at the old venue we always felt we were restricting our customers with our opening times, which were set by the market. Some would rush from work just in time for last orders, some could only come Saturdays. Over time I’m sure that there would be a steady flow of custom in the market, however an opportunity had been presented to us to move in to a premises outside of the market meaning more flexible opening hours.”
“Also with the feedback the number of visitors we have had i think it is safe to say that there is room for another drinking establishment in Darwen, even more so, a micropub.”
A beer festival every day
“In a micropub, customers don’t feel like they have to spend a lifetime waiting to be served, and can have an actual conversation with the staff from one real ale enthusiast to another. Our customers enjoy that it is like a mini beer festival every week because of the ever changing lines.”
“Folk are realising that the cost for quality ales outweighs cheaper large chain alternatives and they enjoy the intimacy a micropub provides.”
If you go looking for Anthony’s pub in the future, they’re sticking with Caskbar for the name, and they’ll be adding craft lagers to their long list of real ales and ciders.
“We try to stick to some of the micropub ethos – no TV, jukebox and keep it small – but there are one or two ideas we don’t agree with. Some micropubs can be real lager snobs, but there are some cracking microbreweries producing some amazing craft lagers out there. The Beer Brothers in Preston and their PR1 in particular deserve a mention.”
Would you try Caskbar’s craft lager selection once it opens? Were you a loyal visitor who can’t wait for them to re-open? Let us know in the comments below.