Bury town centre has been described as compact. That’s small to me and thee. So, by nature, is the real ale scene. The drinking circuit is pretty well established and has been the same for some time. Locals have long since abandoned hope that one of the last chance saloons on Silver St will transform itself into a quality beer emporium.
So it was something of a surprise to be tipped off that one of Bury’s more unbecoming bars was moving upmarket and planned to install real ale. And sure enough, the jungle drums were correct. U Bar is situated on the Rock-Silver St will have to wait a little longer for Brewdog to arrive, opposite the parish church.
If it looks familiar, that’s because it is. Long ago, it was Ronnies on the Rock, a rather smart real ale bar. Then it was Ronnies and an inexorable decline led it to being Blue Lounge and then, briefly, (spot the desperation) Red. During this time it developed a reputation for being a late night (or early morning, if you will) dive. As one review put it in 2010: “If you fancy getting glassed at 4am, this is the place for you.”
However, it’s now under new, young, management and has had a bit of a spruce up. You could still smell the fresh paint when I called in. There is one handpump, as yet unused, waiting to quench the thirst of Bury’s real ale brigade. The plan is to feature local breweries such as Dunscar Bridge. But first to the pump, when it settles, should be J.W.Lees Governor.
Any real ale gain is to be welcomed. And if handled properly, there is a daytime/ early evening dining clientele to be had. However, I fear it will take more than the likes of the Governor to tempt people off their regular bar stools. Any pub with just one pump needs to study the local market to see what sells and promote itself accordingly. Otherwise it will just wither on the vine.