Sunday, 29 November 2015

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Plan to turn former Carlisle city centre bank into pub

Penrith businessman Nigel Tarn wants to bring his Moo Bar concept to Carlisle, creating 15 jobs.

Nigel Tarn photo
Nigel Tarn

The craft beer specialist opened in a former cattle house – hence the name Moo Bar – in King Street, Penrith, in late 2012.

It showcases draught real ales from Cumbrian microbreweries – six are on hand pump at any one time – alongside more than 100 bottled beers from all over the world.

Now Mr Tarn has applied for planning permission and listed building consent to convert the former HFC Bank next to Le Gall in Devonshire Street, Carlisle.

He confirmed that the bar would be along similar lines to his Penrith venture.

“Moo Bar in Penrith has traded successfully for 18 months,” Mr Tarn said.

“As far as Carlisle is concerned, we are just waiting to find out what happens with the planning permission. There are a few hurdles to overcome before we even start work.”

The bar would employ three full-time and 12 part-time staff. There is as yet no projected opening date.

The plans show a circular bar on the ground floor, with more space and kitchens upstairs. Mr Tarn said it would serve food “to complement the craft ales”.

His planning application adds: “The building is traditional in design and draws inspiration from the surrounding architecture and features of the surrounding area.

“The internal design will reflect the traditional building with traditional lighting, features and layout.”

The proposal is another sign that Carlisle’s night-time economy is gravitating north towards Lowther Street and Devonshire Street.

Ron Wood, who owns Le Gall, has converted the former Santander bank, on the opposite side of Devonshire Street, into McQueens, a “modern contemporary bar”.

That follows two new venues in Devonshire Street – Hell Below and Eaten By Monsters – opened by John Van Lierop, who also owns Concrete and the Gilded Lily in Lowther Street.

As well as Moo Bar, Mr Tarn owns the restaurant Four & Twenty in King Street, Penrith. He is a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers, is an international beer judge and a columnist for drinks magazines.

He was shortlisted for micro-entrepreneur of the year in the inaugural UK Citi Micro-Entrepreneurship Awards held in Bristol in February.

He was one of the organisers of Penrith Ale Festival held last July as part of the Penrith on a Plate food and drink week.

Prior to Moo Bar he launched Turbo Drinks, based at Skirwith in the Eden Valley, which marketed a premium-strength pre-mixed shandy made with alcoholic lemonade.

The business moved to Wales after it was sold to a consortium involving the former Wales rugby union captain Gareth Thomas for a reported £7m in 2012.

Earlier in his career Mr Tarn worked for Red Bull, Wharfedale Brewery, SABMiller and the Merseyside drinks distributor Halewood International where, as senior brand manager for beers, ciders and spirits, he helped to launch Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer.


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