Residents will have noticed the bright, new paint work and cheerful red doors on the Red Lion pub. Inside too, all the rooms have been redecorated, including the four letting rooms on the first floor. All this is the hard work of the new landlords who are determined to make the Red Lion a central part of village life.
Simon and Gill Brett from Birkenhead took over the lease of the Punch Tavern property on January 23rd this year. They are first time landlords and are relishing the challenge of their new lives. 'Its hard work but very rewarding' said Gill
The Bretts plan to make the Red Lion a traditional 'local', where regulars can meet friends and enjoy some good conversation. To this end, pool, darts and dominoes will play an important part alongside the beer. There is already a regular Wednesday Quiz night, with the proceeds being split between the winners and a local charity. The current charity is St Andrews Church. Another community involvement is planned with a Parish Fun Day on August 31st.
While the pub may eventually provide a small range of bar snacks, there are no plans to offer a restaurant service. 'We are surrounded by excellent eateries and have no wish to compete with them' said Simon. If residents book the beer garden for private functions, Simon and Gill are happy for them to make their own food arrangements.
The technical name for what the Red Lion is planning to be is a 'wet' pub and it represents a bit of a gamble for Simon and Gill. Pub closures are vey common throughout the country now as the pattern of eating and drinking changes. In Ashton, the Golden Lion is currently closed for business and the 'Headless Woman' in Duddon is now a building site. Indeed, some of the customers from these two pubs have found their way to the Red Lion.
Many people are nostalgic for the old days, but 'local' pubs like 'local' shops need LOCAL customers to survive. We are very lucky to have the choice of so many lovely places to enjoy a drink, but if we want these to thrive, more of us will have to 'pop in for a pint.'