The Rose & Crown pub, situated in the heart of Wirral’s Bebington Village and popular with real ale fans from all over Merseyside, has opened up again after the lockdown thanks to the support of the local community.
With the help of community support group, Brighter Bebington, Alison McGovern, local MP and councillors Christina Muspratt, Tony Cottier, and Jerry Williams, the venue has put in wooden tables on an area of grass next to the pub and will provide table service.
James Skinner, licensee and partner Isla Thompson took over the Rose & Crown two years ago and have already gained a reputation for offering top quality ales, entertainment and a great atmosphere.
In the time the pub has been open, it has seen a significant increase in its custom base from locals as well as real ale enthusiasts from other parts of Merseyside and beyond and always has one pump for guest beers.
In both 2018 and 2019 the Rose and Crown was runner-up in the Wirral Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Pub of the Year Awards and up until the March lockdown the pub was regularly full of customers who enjoyed the live music and weekly quiz nights.
During lockdown, Isla and James began to offer home delivery, promoting ales from local craft brewers, such as Purple Moose Brewery in Porthmadog and Brimstage Brewery in Wirral. The home delivery service proved a hit with locals but, as with so many pubs, a fall in revenue has hit the business hard.
“Although we understand why it was necessary, the lockdown was a hammer blow to the pub trade which is already under huge pressure,” said James. “For us at the Rose & Crown it was especially tough because we had built up a fantastic local customer base in the two years since we took over.”
The Government allowed pubs and restaurants to open from July 4 but James said the announcement was too short a notice for the Rose & Crown. The pub has a more traditional, cosy feel to it, a bonus in ordinary times but more of a challenge in the age of social distancing.
James added: “What is most important right now is the safety of our customers and staff. We didn’t want to just open in a rush on July 4. We wanted to make sure we did things properly. For the tables inside we are introducing a booking system with a maximum of two households per table and people will be served at their tables with an online ordering facility. The Rose & Crown is a real community pub and it is due to the efforts of the community, and the support of our customers and staff, that we are able to finally reopen our doors this week.”
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