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Newbury set to welcome first ever 'micropub'

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

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01635 886632

34-3514B  Inches Yard
A PUB with no music, no lager, no jukeboxes, no fruit machines and no gastropub food could be coming to Newbury. Former landlord of The Woodpecker in Wash Water, Ian Batho, has put in an official planning application for West Berkshire’s very first ‘micropub’ at the Grade II listed building at 1 Inches Yard. A ‘micropub’ is classed 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'. There will be no hand pumps and no bar - and beer will be served straight from the cask. At just 25 square feet, the pub will have a maximum capacity for 25 people and there will be no food - apart from crisps, nuts and pork scratchings. Mr Batho, who will run the pub alongside his wife Karen, says he also plans to bring in traditional games including chess, scrabble, cribs and solitaire. He said: “I first got the idea a couple of years ago and did a bit of research. The more I looked at it the more I thought this is something I’d really like to do.” “I want people to actually be able to have a conversation like they used to in pubs, not sat next to each other texting each other.“At 25 square feet you pretty much have to rub shoulders and make conversation.” He added: “When I was at The Woodpecker I remember seeing a father sat there with his real ale, teaching his son how to play chess and I thought this is what it’s all about. “I hope a micropub will give people the option to go somewhere different and try something new. “There is nothing like this in Newbury or West Berkshire at the moment and everyone we’ve spoken to has been very positive about the possibility of a micropub.” The concept of the micropub has become something of a phenomenon over the past few years, with more than 700 now open across the country. Micropubs can vary in size and opening hours, but they are united in one philosophy - a simple pub with the focus on cask beer and conversation for entertainment. Their motto is KIS, KIS - keep it small, keep it simple. If the plans are approved, the micropub would be open from 11am to 11pm Monday to Sunday. The current premises, which was previously occupied by Jill's Dry Cleaning & Laundry Services, has been vacant for almost two years. West Berkshire Council is expected to make its final decision on September 22.

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