Our beer expert Andrew Nowell checks out a new venue that has popped up to cater for fans of the juniper berry...
Gin is “having a moment”, to use a phrase, and now the current enthusiasm for juniper juice is coming to Wigan too.
Gin Lane was due to open on Wigan Lane this weekend after around a year of hard graft turning a sandwich shop into a bar blending past and present.
The new venue is the brainchild of Alison Duncan, who reached a milestone birthday and decided 31 years of working in the council’s contact centre in Poolstock was enough.
She decided to swap listening to residents’ complaints about everything from school places to bin collections for the freedom of running her own business and Gin Lane was born.
She says she is looking forward to welcoming customers into the industrial-chic drinking den, which takes its name partly from its location and somewhat from the famous 18th century art work by William Hogarth about alcohol’s effect on London’s lower classes.
Alison said: “I just fancied a change after being at the council and even though I’m here until all hours I’m enjoying running my own business.
“Gin is on trend at the moment and when this building was available I decided to go for it.
“There’s lots of footfall and Wigan Lane is traditionally a drinking route for people going down into town.
“The level of interest so far has been huge, it’s been non-stop with people coming in asking when we were opening.”
Alison admits she is not actually a huge fan of gin herself but has a panel of nine connoisseur friends who tell her about their discoveries and offer advice through a What’s App group.
Gin Lane will open with 14 different juniper-based creations on offer, although there are plans to expand the range further.
Lager sippers can enjoy Asahi, Peroni and the new Czech brew Pardal, with Alison being one of the first bar owners to stock it.
Fruli’s refreshing strawberry beer is also on keg and there are then three cask ales, one which will be home to the permanent beer Loweswater Gold and two which will have a rotating selection, mainly from local breweries.
Wines, including proseccos, are also being stocked and there will be clip-on ice buckets to attach to the tables.
There will also be plenty of art work adorning the place, with works by local artist Carol Appleton on the walls downstairs and extracts from Hogarth’s own work put on the upstairs chimney breast.
Creating Gin Lane has been a huge effort with the interior completely transformed and even the cellar entrance having to be moved.
The bar will be open Thursdays to Sundays. Find out more about the bar by searching for Gin Lane Wigan on Facebook.