Blue’s Micro Pub officially opened its doors in the heart of Whitburn Village, South Tyneside, in February 2020, offering a range of independent craft ales in a small and friendly setting.
Landlords Alice Pye and Callum Watson spent several months renovating the property after seizing the opportunity to run their own pub.
The venture proved a welcome one for the village, particularly as it came after the village’s Grey Horse pub closed for good. Plans have since been approved to convert the building into a Co-op store.
However, Blue’s only had around seven weeks of ‘normal’ trade before the first national lockdown came into force to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
The venue had been operating as an off-licence selling bottles, cans, and mini kegs, as well as mulled wine over Christmas and New Year, but has now closed temporarily after England was placed under the third national lockdown.
As part of a bid to improve the pub’s offering for customers ready for better times, the landlords are hoping to introduce a small ‘snug room’ and beer garden.
The proposals would essentially double the number of seats inside while adding a further 20 outdoor seats in the beer garden.
According to a design and access statement submitted with the planning application, the demand for the micropub, both before and after the first lockdown, has “greatly exceeded capacity.”
If approved, the revamp would allow the micropub to welcome more customers while continuing to operate in a Covid-safe way when lockdown restrictions on the hospitality sector ease.
“In the short-term, we see it as pretty essential for the running of the business,” said Callum Watson.
“If Covid-19 restrictions stay for a lot longer, it’s not sustainable just having four tables inside the pub.
“In the long term, the beer garden for the summer would also be a massive bonus for us.”
In documents submitted to South Tyneside Council’s planning department, micropub bosses have stressed that their business plan remains unchanged.
This includes no loud amplified music, TVs or gaming machines, no alcopops or commercial draught lager and the promotion of responsible drinking.
Internal sound proofing will continue to be installed along the wall adjoining 2 Percy Terrace to the rear of the property, in line with a previous noise assessment.
Plans to boost capacity at Blue’s Micro Pub are also expected to bring two new jobs to the local area. The design and access statement goes on to say: “This continues to be a completely different proposition which is not trying to compete with existing businesses and an offering which should attract new visitors to Whitburn.
“We hope existing businesses will benefit from the extra footfall and visitor profile.
“We have given this project serious thought and have carried out lengthy research.
“The added capacity is essential to the continuing success of the business, especially during the current pandemic situation.”
South Tyneside Council is consulting on the plans until January 28.
“In the long term, the beer garden for the summer would also be a massive bonus for us"