Winky’s Bar – A big thanks.

Posted: 21st October 2013 by santobugtio in Writing

When you visit the pub, sometimes you don’t appreciate the organisation that goes on behind the scenes to provide you with a good night.  I’m not just talking about the back of house cellar work and all the administration that it takes to run the place.   However after the last few months, I fully appreciate this work that landlords up and down the country put in each week to host the weekly pub quiz, band night or karaoke session.

Over the last 4 years, my involvement with pubs have gone from merely handing over money for mostly good beer to interviewing our best landlords and writing about the things week after week.  Earlier this year I got asked to help design and refurbish a new cellar bar in Holmfirth by Kevin Sanders who some of you will remember from his days at Lewins in Halifax, and others just from his time in Holmfirth at the The Postcard Inn.  You truly don’t believe the amount of work it takes to take a shell of a room and three months later host a launch party in the same space until you have to do it yourself.

But the pride when you get to the opening night and it is just before everyone arrives more than makes up for the hours of work you put in.  Hugh at the Cross Keys said a very similar thing to me when I interviewed him, it is when you stand back at the end, and see people enjoying themselves in that space and you think that is why I did this.   Myself, the owners Graham and Kevin and Nick who did all the physical labour stood there just before we opened the doors, had one final toast to the place, then decided this wine is rather nice and had a second one!

It is a project I am hugely proud of, the bar takes the heritage of the town and celebrates a short burst of time when it was the centre of world silent film making at the turn of the 19th century when Bamforth and Co, who you probably know better for saucy seaside postcards, where world leaders in the field.   The bar is named Winky’s after a character who appeared in over 40 films for them between 1913-1915.   The bar also celebrates the silent movie era as a whole with a collection of hand picked silent movie posters from all over the world.

From the bar logo to the wall of mostly original artwork showing the history of Bamforths and featuring numerous photos from inside the now derelict factory kindly donated by Andrew Haigh accompanying the collection of classic posters opposite, the response from the assembled crowd on the opening night was pretty universally positive as well as from friends whose opinions I highly respect.

But the real work is finding printers, framers, artists to do custom art work, finding musicians to play on the night and sourcing general background music for the evening as well as a hundred other jobs that the other people on the team did to make sure the opening night was a success.  Big thanks need to go out to the Simon on accordion and his Jazz trumpeter son for some excellent tunes and fantastic improvisation at the end of the night, and whom I can recommend for any occasion.

But the people who really made the place where the people who attended on the night, without which Winky’s would merely be a well decorated room looking nice.  The buzz of the crowd there and seeing everyone enjoying themselves is the ultimate pay off for myself, Kevin, Nick and Graham as well as everyone else who provided services in the project.