There are few genuine celebrities in the licensing world. However, tonight Bury will welcome one such rare beast as the new licensee of the Dusty Miller. The Dusty, a Moorhouses pub that featured for many years in the Good Beer Guide, has been closed since September and, until recently, there were fears for its future.
Now, after a £200,000 refurbishment, it’s set to reopen under the management of the man who once laid claim to being Britain’s most controversial publican. Nick Hogan made national headlines for continuing to allow smoking in Barristers in Bolton after the smoking ban came into force.
The story is well known to many, but suffice it to say that, after failing to pay £10,000 accrued in fines and legal costs, he was jailed for six months. His supporters-to whom he is somewhat of an Elizabethan martyr-quickly rallied round and paid the monies: enabling him to leave gaol after serving only twelve days.
He then turned up at the Swan with Two Necks in Chorley; where I stumbled across him whilst conducting a crawl for this very blog way back in 2008. The Dusty lies in an area badly served by good pubs and locals are hoping his experience will turn thing around. With his strong views on the pub trade, I’m expecting fireworks, if not any smoke.
Sadly, I’ve not been asked to be the guest of honour at tonight’s opening ceremony. That falls to the Cheeky-less Lembit Opik.