Wigan micropub overwhelmed by hundreds of bookings ahead of reopening
The award-winning watering hole's location may not exactly be picturesque but that has not put drinkers off.
Wigan Central has already had more than 300 bookings for its outdoor tables which are available from today.
Given its position on Queen Street that means having a pint next to a dual carriageway opposite an enormous metal industrial structure is currently one of the hottest tickets in town.
And they are looking forward to welcoming their loyal customers back after months during which lockdown has forced pubs to shut.
To fit in with the Government’s roadmap, which initially restricts hospitality venues to outdoor table service, the Queen Street pub is putting up a gazebo outside to offer shelter from the elements to some of its 16 tables.
And demand to come back to a venue which has been recognised nationally for the quality of its real ale and craft beer selections is sky-high. `
Manageress Jo Whalley said: “We’ve done exceptionally well with bookings and it makes us happy that everybody misses us as much as we miss them.
“It’s nice to see people are eager to come back and that we’re part of routines that have been missed but not forgotten.
"I remember us getting a mention in a list of 10 beer gardens in Wigan. People will sit alongside a dual carriageway with the Travis Perkins behemoth across the road but it doesn’t seem to faze everyone because they know they will get a good pint and atmosphere.
“Some beer gardens have flowers and planters and all these things. We’ve got these steel tables next to one of the busiest roads in Wigan but we never seem to have a problem.
"Everybody still comes down to us and it’s lovely that’s the case.”
The hospitality trade has been hit extremely hard by Covid-19 over the past 12 months and Jo admits the continuing restrictions even once pubs reopen on Monday are not ideal.
Wigan Central, however, will be throwing all its efforts behind making outside table service work as well as possible, with the train-style signals being brought out again for customers to indicate when they would like another drink.
Jo is putting together a line-up of beers from renowned breweries across the country for the reopening, including North Riding, Thornbridge and Totally Brewed.
Although indoor service is at least another month away, she is delighted to be on the road back to some kind of normality.
She said: “This is a huge step in the right direction. It’s not exactly what we would have wanted, we would have liked to open inside, but there’s ongoing progress and it’s a massive thing for us to be serving again.
“We’ve been doing deliveries but it’s not the same as talking to people and giving them recommendations or tasters. It’s not easy to explain over the phone what a beer is like, it’s much better face-to-face.
“That’s what we’re here for and it’s important to get that back.”
Tables are being booked in advance but a number of spaces are also going to be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
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