'Use it or lose it' - Biggleswade pubs' plea for support as the Chronicle launches Our Pubs Need You campaign

Biggleswade pubs and bars are campaigning for people to come into the town centre as publicans warn - "use us or lose us".

By Jo Robinson
Friday, 6th May 2022, 4:46 pm

Business owners have joined forces to raise awareness about activities on people's doorsteps - including live bands, DJs, bottomless brunches, darts, and bingo - and are appealing for local residents to support them post-lockdown.

Joe Tutt and Tasha Healey, directors of the Stairway Music Bar and Kitchen, High Street, said: "We want to highlight what's going on in town and are speaking on behalf of everyone here. There's lots happening every weekend."

At the Stairway, visitors can enjoy live DJs, afternoon teas, pizzas, cocktails (Happy Hour is 7pm to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays), as well as special bottomless brunches, and events, including Garage Nation on May 21.

Clockwise from top left: Music at Stairway; The White Hart; pizza at Stairway; burgers at The White Hart and landlord Leigh Murphy behind the bar; Mark and Toni Francis, landlord and landlady of The Pembroke Arms.

The business duo, born and bred in Biggleswade, added: "We look after our staff and we care about the town; we're not taking money out and putting it into some 'fat cat's' pockets."

Meanwhile, publican Leigh Murphy took over The White Hart, Market Square, in January and is hoping to attract new faces - both human and furry - as dogs are welcome too!

He told the Chronicle: "I stand there behind the bar and think, we're doing the right thing, but the town is quiet? In fact, one man had lived on the estate for three years and it was his first time in town!"

Live music is back at The White Hart, with acoustic acts, duos, singers and DJs, while its food is also a hit with punters, especially the Sunday roasts.

A night at The Stairway; Joe and Tasha are former owners of Nonno Joe's, which was a victim of the pandemic. However, people can now enjoy its pizzas via dine-in at Stairway or a takeaway from Beasties.

Leigh added: "We're the last remaining Greene King pub and with the brewery gone - it closed in 1996 - for some of our customers, we're the last connection to their working lives there."

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Another pub doing its best to attract customers is the Pembroke Arms, Hitchin Street.

Landlord and landlady, Mark and Toni Francis, said: "People are worried about spending money or they've got used to sitting at home during the lockdowns.

Mark and Toni Francis, landlord and landlady of The Pembroke Arms.

"But we are doing as much as we can; we've got live music on Fridays, karaoke, discos, and we try to do as many special offers as we can."

Guests can enjoy live music from pop and country to Indie bands and 50s/60s covers, while they recently ran a fancy dress 80s disco - first prize a bottle of prosecco and meal for two. There's a Monday League darts team, too. Locals can also look forward to its annual August bank holiday event for Sue Ryder St John's Hospice.

Mark and Toni added: "It's not a pub, it's more like going to somebody's home. People can come in, have a laugh and be themselves."

Finally, Tanya Gardner, treasurer and bar staff at Biggleswade Social Club, is hoping to spread the word that her venue welcomes everyone, not just members' only.

Sunday roasts are a hit at The White Hart. Photo: Greene King.

She said: "You'll find laughter and banter - anyone who comes in we treat them like family."

The venue boasts three pool tables, a DJ booth, darts, bingo games with fun raffles, cocktails, beer and cider, while it also has a Robbie Williams tribute night lined up.

Its hall can be booked for private parties, while it's also used for line dancing, fitness classes, and the Mayflower [social] Club during the week.

What’s your favourite pub? Get in touch explaining why it’s so great by emailing [email protected]. And, landlords, if you want your business promoted via the Chronicle’s ‘Our Pubs Need You’ campaign email us too.