Double delight for Wigan as traditional pub and wine bar open

The Poacher in Winstanley
The Poacher in Winstanley

Our beer expert Andrew Nowell takes a look at two new additions to the town's drinking scene...

The two most recent additions to the borough’s drinking scene show just how much space there is for variety when opening a watering hole in 2018.

Pub giant Marston’s has thrown the doors of the popular boozer The Poacher in Winstanley open once more with a venue for Wiganers to eat and drink.

Meanwhile one of the arches beneath Wigan North Western has been turned into Hideout, a modern cafe-bar specialising in quality wines and gins taking plenty of cues from popular spots to while away an afternoon in Liverpool or Manchester.

Hideout, located next to award-winning ale haunt Wigan Central, is the brainchild of Steven Molloy and his wife Abbie along with Paul Basnett and his wife Vicky.

The two businessmen have a decade’s experience in retail and opening a venue like Hideout has been a long-term ambition.

Marston’s, meanwhile, has spent a quarter of a million pounds on the new-look Poacher on Holmes House Avenue and is hoping to draw in residents with fresh, locally-sourced food seven days a week.

Keeping it local is also an important motto at Hideout, where Steven and his team have sourced Lancashire, North West and English products wherever possible, even down to including some of this country’s wines on the extensive menu.

Steven said: “This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and we decided to just take the plunge and go for it.

“We love the arch, it’s a unique building and we’re hoping to complement the brilliant work Wigan Central has done.

“We enjoy going to places in Liverpool and Manchester for the cafe-bar scene there.

“It’s really popular having somewhere you can enjoy good-quality coffee and cake which then remains open into the evening selling alcohol.

“We felt there wasn’t really anything like that in Wigan and we wanted to bring it to the town so you don’t have to get on a train.”

The new bar has somethhing of an industrial look with plenty of wooden stools and tall tables but it also pays tribute to being beneath a railway by having the bar made out of a resin-topped sleeper.

Unsurprisingly, given who is next door, there will not be real ale at Hideout but there is Mahou lager and Brooklyn’s IPA Scorcher on tap with a few extra craft bottles from the British and American brewing scenes in the fridge as well.

It’s the drinks made from grapes and juniper where Hideout really comes into its own, with dozens of whites, roses and reds from across the world being offered in glasses and bottles to suit a variety of wallet sizes.

There’s also a big gin selection, a good number of whiskies to choose from and a wide range of hot drinks, the coffees being doled out from a machine that looks like it brings a rather sci-fi twist to something from an old American diner.

Those who have intolerances to dairy or choose to cut out animal products will be pleased to know there are alternative milks.

There’s also food on offer and this is something that Steven is very keen to develop further, with plans for the cakes, pies and other snacks to be joined eventually by everything from brunch options to large sharing boards of artisan cheeses and charcuterie.

Steven says he hopes that Hideout and Wigan Central between them will draw more people away from the very middle of town.

He said: “If something else opens up in the arches as well it will be a really nice place for people to come and spend an evening.”

While a very different ethos is driving the re-opening of The Poacher, there are some similarities.

Platters and urban-style sharing boards won’t be making an appearance but there is definitely a commitment to quality in the pub grub and equally an emphasis that food needs to be offered alongside booze if many places are going to survive in the 21st century.

For that reason it’s the food side of the business that Marston’s is talking up following Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Retired member of staff Mary Edwards, who pulled pints there for 31 years, did the honours before everyone saw what has been done to the pub, which has a distinctive look with wooden clapboards covering the entire upper storey.

The menu will contain plenty of tried-and-tested old favourites like pizzas, burgers and steaks, but there will also be other options for health-conscious Wiganers with plenty of lower-calorie meals on offer.

Not that the beer has been forgotten in all of this. With Marston’s impressive roster of breweries a revolving selection of tasty traditional bitters, golden ales and IPAs should more or less be guaranteed.

The half a dozen other producers under the Marston’s umbrella churn out some of the country’s most popular ales, with Marston’s itself joined by Wychwood and Brakspear, Jennings in Cumbria, Ringwood from Hampshire, Eagle and Banks’s.

An array oflagers, ciders, wines and cocktails can also be expected and there will also be live acts.

Find out more about Hideout by searching for Hideout Wigan on Facebook.