British Pubs, normally in the press for all the wrong reasons these days, closing down almost daily, derelict, customers in decline, licences lost and establishments that have served communities for often hundreds of years redeveloped for “other”use.
Well for a refreshing change this story bucks that depressing trend, this is the tale of a pub rescued from the brink of the abyss, potentially only weeks away from being yet another statistic and happily the start of a new chapter in the life of a thriving Staffordshire brewery.
Many months ago husband and wife team Brad and Viv or “Mr and Mrs Lymestone Brewer” or as they are better known, set out in search of a premises suitable to be the very first Lymestone Brewery Tap. One of those premises was the site of the old Wine Vaults which just happened to sit on Newcastle Under Lymes main high street and as such had a price tag to match. A price too far and Brad and Viv decided to walk away.
A few months down the line and the selling agents contacted them again, this time with a much more interesting offer, the same building, minus the expensive high street frontage. A second visit was hastily arranged, architects consulted, an application for re-licence submitted and after a lot of hard graft the Lymestone Vaults was born.
The old interior has been gutted, hundreds of years of grime, old paintwork, boxed in ceilings removed and has been given a modern fresh look. The decor reminds me a little of CASK Pub and Kitchen in Pimlico for anyone who’s been, for those who haven’t it’s all pastel shades, reclaimed furniture, with a soft leather sofa area sat in front of a most welcome (at this time of year) wood burning stove.
On the bar as you’d expect Lymestone’s own brews take about half of the line of hand-pulls, the other a mix of guest ales. Lager is from local brewery Freedom which is a real coup, being the only pub stocking Freedom that I know of in the area, a real refreshing change from run of the mill mainstream brands.
Future plans are for locally sourced bar snack type food, pork pies, scotch eggs and the like, nothing fancy, just top quality local produce to compliment the local feel of the Vaults.
The biggest selling point of all for me though are Brad and Viv themselves. I’ve waxed lyrical on here before about the passion and warmth they both show when you meet them and listen to them talk about their beers. Both always have time for everyone but neither suffer fools gladly, treat them right and they will see you right which is why I’m sure the Lymestone Vaults will be a roaring success.
I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview on Wednesday night. An invitation for a “select few” it said, proving the paragraph above is true it was rammed, a great night was had by all and another chapter in the pubs 300 year history began.
The Lymestone Vaults is now fully open for business and can be found on Pepper Street which is just off the main drag through the archway. Get yourself down there and see for yourself.
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