You might not have heard of The Chemic Tavern yet, but this traditional pub in Woodhouse may have to close its doors if the community doesn’t help. Kate, one of the owners, told me that not so long ago you weren’t considered a German riot grrrl unless your band had played there on tour – so why is it failing?
I went to check out the pub (and grab a swift pint). Instantly my friends and I were drawn to it. The old fashioned stone building, with a massive beer garden looked perfect for a sunny day. However being a bit hung-over and needing a comfy seat, we went inside for a drink.
The super friendly staff immediately greeted us with big smiles, which is always a positive. They made sure we tried their ales first to see which one we wanted, no complaints there. The prices might not be not the cheapest, but for someone used to over-priced, shit beer, £3.40 for really tasty ale is totally reasonable.
The inside of the pub reminded me of home, reminiscent of the pubs I used to go to with my family; really cosy with regulars chatting to each other. Someone was playing an instrument I didn’t recognise, and there was a positive vibe and genuinely welcoming feeling. It was really fucking cute. We sat over by a pile of books and board games and managed to unsuccessfully play a few before realising we weren’t any good at any of them (we settled on Scrabble - with very relaxed rules).
None of us really understood why this quaint little pub, in a student heavy area, wasn’t doing well. I managed to have a chat with 2 of the current owners; Kate and Charlie, about the issues it’s been faced with.
They told me the problem is that they’re just not getting enough business. This, coupled with the surge in business rates, means the pub is simply no longer viable with the current economic situation. On a good week they make around £60 profit, which doesn’t seem to be increasing.
They recently reached out to the community for help – and have had an overwhelming response. Everyone has come out to help; they have just reached their goal of £3000 on gofundme and this is getting bigger every day. It’s inspiring to see that people are really stepping up and it seems that no one wants The Chemic to disappear.
It’s not just cosy interiors and friendly locals that make this place special, they also have a decent space to put on gigs and are open to anyone who wants to use their facilities to hold various events. Artists, musicians, book club members or anyone with a hobby that needs a warm and inviting venue, should get in touch and hold their next event at The Chemic Tavern. They only ask for a deposit and that you use their engineer, so it’s a great opportunity for anyone looking for a space to curate all kinds of events.
What they really need now, is for people to start going. As summer comes around, any decent beer garden in town gets rammed with people out to get smashed in the sun, but The Chemic Tavern offers something different. You’ll actually manage to have a nice beer and find a seat in the sun for the whole day, without worrying about other customers eyeballing you for your table if you stay for more than 30 minutes. Go check it out and help keep them going.