CHEERS: Handing over the keys to the Firkin Alley, Ryan and Ali Stones congratulate new owner Jamie Kidd
CHEERS: Handing over the keys to the Firkin Alley, Ryan and Ali Stones congratulate new owner Jamie Kidd

REAL ale drinkers will be delighted to learn the Firkin Alley, in Barnard Castle, which had to close earlier this year due to the owners’ ill health, is to reopen on Friday (August 3).

Keys to the cosy establishment, in Horsemarket, were handed over to the new owners Jamie Kidd, 31, and Nicola Taylor, 38, this week and they say “it’s like a dream come true”.

The Firkin Alley, the brain-child of Caldwell-based couple Ryan and Ali Stones, opened two years ago serving up a wide range of real ales and ciders. However due to health issues they decided to sell the atmospheric micro-pub.

New owners Mr Kidd and Ms Taylor are familiar faces in Barnard Castle, having both grown up in the town and were licensees of the Coach and Horses, in Galgate, before they took over running the Red Well Inn, on Harmire Road in January.

Mr Kidd said: “The Firkin is like a dream. When we were running the Coach and Horses we went to meet Ali and Ryan when they opened.

“We loved it and what they did with the place.

“We wanted to have a similar style pub, but Barnard Castle isn’t really big enough to support two so when Ali and Ryan decided to sell we jumped at the chance of getting it.”

Rather than install a manager, Mr Kidd says he and his wife are looking forward to getting behind the bar themselves.

Sam Turner

He said: “We’ve got a great team at the Red Well and have just taken on a new chef and front of house manager so when we’re at the Firkin we know it is in good hands.”

Customers will be also be pleased to hear they don’t intend to change a thing but they are planning to run a free taxi service between their two establishments.

“The Red Well is a little out of the way and we hope by offering this service customers will be able to enjoy drinking in both places but also grab a bite to eat the Red Well.”

Mr Kidd said they will have a soft opening on Friday, August 3, but have lined up live music for Saturday, August 4, and hope previous regulars will come along and meet them.

Mr and Mrs Stones are delighted their friends have taken over.

Mr Stones said: “We wish Jamie and Nicola all the good fortune we had.

“It’s great to know someone who loves it (Firkin Alley) as much as we do will be running it.”