SAD END: Ryan and Ali Stones have taken the difficult decision to close their pub in Barnard Castle
SAD END: Ryan and Ali Stones have taken the difficult decision to close their pub in Barnard Castle

A TEESDALE couple have been overwhelmed by the level of support and good wishes they have received from customers since announcing they are closing their popular Barnard Castle pub.

Ryan and Ali Stones, who established the popular micro-brewery The Firkin Alley, in Bakery Mews, said the decision to close the real ale venue had not been easy.

“Starting and running this place has been our passion,” said Mr Stones. “It’s our baby and we’ve loved every minute of running it.

“The people of Barnard Castle have been so welcoming and supportive, but I’ve been suffering from heart problems for a while and something had to give.”

The couple had contemplated appointing a manager to run the venue, but felt they would find themselves behind the bar more often than not, so they have taken the decision to sell the Firkin Alley.

Sage Wealth MPU

“We’re upset and I love this place to bits and all the people who have helped make it such a success, but my health has to come first,” added Mr Stones.

“We tried to create an old style pub, one which is not about music blasting or televisions on the wall, but about the variety of good beer and the opportunity to chat and make friends.”

In their first year of operation the couple, who live in Caldwell, won the Teesdale Pub of the Year accolade from Camra (The Campaign for Real Ale)

“It’s not on the market yet,” said Mrs Stones. “But we’ve have loads of messages and offers of help. We’re hoping to find the right people who are just as passionate as us to take over and then we can enjoy being in the Firkin on the other side of the bar.”

“We’d like to thank everyone in Barnard Castle for their support and kind words,” said Mr Stones. “Barnard Castle is a cracking town and the people are fantastic.”