When is a pub not a pub?

Anyone coming into Bury by car, or walking through the shopping precinct will come across the abnormality pictured above. The Flying Shuttle (AKA The Showboat, AKA Liberty Avenue etc) to give it its original, and proper, name is a strange beast. A new build opened by Thwaites in 1983, it takes its name from John Kay’s famous textile invention. Although exteriorly unattractive, it had some attractive traditional features. There were two rooms, each with their own entrances and bar-one large lounge and a pool room. It projected an image of comfortable prosperity and encouraged (then still relatively rare), lunch time diners. Being so close to the precinct, it was a gold mine and operated a strict code for dress and behaviour. Indeed, it passed into Bury folklore for banning Dan Juan Ricardo on its opening day for the sin of wearing a leather jacket!

However, fast forward to the late 90s and a different picture emerges. Standards had dropped due to changes in management and cask, when on, was poor. Being next door to a nightclub-Sol (known to locals as the Sweaty Beaver), meant that it became known as a handy place to score cheap E’s. Slowly daytime trade ebbed away. Into the Noughties and the change was complete. The place was an unmitigated dump. A very basic choice of bottled beers at crazy prices, the loss of the food trade, and even the eventual falling away of the drugs culture, didn’t help attract to attract new customers.

Recently we had the fiasco of an inept landlord splitting the pub into two to form a gay and a straight half. Bizarre. As it turns out, apart from being a gobshite ((I’m going to defy the smoking ban), the landlord proved less of a gay rights campaigner and more of a crook, running off in less than ideal circumstances. Today the pub is better run, but still not more appealing. Half the pub is now a separate café and one half is, er, a pub. The pub half is still dismal, just when competition is fiercer than ever. Now I haven’t tried JT’s café yet, although they do advertise plate pies, and as Don Ricardo will tell you, you can’t beat a bit of plate pie. But, the bottom line is that if it’s a pub, it should start acting like one. The clock is ticking…


Anonymous said…
since this write up was submitted the Flying Shuttle has changed landladies.... today the inside is fresher/cleaner and more welcoming... the outside is currently being freshly painted.. and the awful pink/purple of the earlier gay era is being removed !!! by the way - JT's cafe is great value for money and food is now being served in the "pub" side... I can recommend the lasagna !!
maybe next time your passing by the Shuttle pop in and see if you think it has changed from the dingy miserable place that it used to be!!!
Tyson said…
Thanks for the update. I shall call in asap and give it another go.

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