A former post office in Rotherham has undergone a radical transformation and reopened as a micro-bar thanks to funding from UK Steel Enterprise’s (UKSE) Kickstart Fund.
The Little Haven micro-bar is looking to capitalise on a growing trend across the UK in which venues shun music and TVs in a bid to “bring people back together”.
The pub, based in Rotherham’s Parkgate suburb, opened its doors 11 weeks ago.
Business owner Rebecca Shaw told The Yorkshire Post that locals are warming to the new establishment.
She said: “At first a few people were like fish out of water but it’s also attracted a new clientele. People from the area who hadn’t been out before have started coming out.
“They might bring some cards and play games or they come in couples. It is nice because some of them have made comments that they hadn’t been out in the area for several years.”
Ms Shaw runs the micro-bar with her partner Peter Bentley. The couple took over the premises in May, fully refurbished the former post office on Broad Street having received a £500 grant from UK Steel Enterprise.
Micro-bars are likely to be a growing trend, Ms Shaw believes, because landlords can’t afford the overheads of pubs.
Ms Shaw, who works with adults who have learning disabilities, was inspired by a micro-bar she had seen years ago. She’d also done bar work herself.
The Little Haven has put an emphasis on stocking bar snacks produced by local businesses and sourcing drinks from nearby breweries.
Ms Shaw said: “I like to keep business local if I can. It’s nice if you have to go a bit further afield but I find local ones more helpful. They tend to be more prompt.”
It is stocking beer from Drone Valley Brewery, a community-led brewery that reinvests the profits into the local community.
The micro-bar will hold 30 people, standing and seated, at any given time, Ms Shaw says.
She’s currently spending two days a week in her job working with adults who have learning disabilities but Ms Shaw believes running the micro-bar will become a full-time job for her.
“I still do two days a week of my old job and my partner runs the bar,” she said. “Eventually, more than likely it will be a full-time job.”
Ms Shaw added: “Over the next 12 to 24 months I’d like a steady client base. I’d like to have the same continuing staff working. I’d like to build a little thriving business.”
Alan Stanley, from UK Steel Enterprise, said: “Micro bars are a growing trend focused on bringing people together and are proving to be very popular – it’s great that Rebecca has been able to make the most of this.
“The Kickstart fund was designed to help budding entrepreneurs fulfil their business goals and so it’s great to see The Little Haven thriving as a result.”