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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Kings Arms, Hawcoat

Norman Reed, the licensee of the Kings Arms, in Hawcoat.          DENNIS SHARP        REF: 0161619

NEW faces will be behind the bar at the Kings before the year is out.

Norman Reed and his wife Judy have looked after this tiny little boozer with tender loving care for the past 16 years.

But they are coming up for retirement, I am told, and have given Stockport-based Robinson’s, who own the pub, six months’ notice of their intention to put their feet up and take a well-earned rest.

The pub, which is perched close to Hawcoat Quarry on one of the highest parts of Barrow, consists of just two rooms.

Though it’s no longer on my beat, it’s always a pleasure visiting the Kings.

It dates back to the time when Barrow was a farming community and it’s a refreshing

reminder of how pubs used to be before many of them became polluted with rap music, gaming machines and giant TV screens.

On entering and turning left up a short corridor, the punter finds himself in a rectangular lounge with a bar at the southern end.

The tables are old-style with wrought-iron legs and the decor is neat.

The pub’s quiz team competes in the Barrow and District Pub Quiz League in here on Sundays.

Members of Barrow Savoyards also use the Kings on a fairly regular basis.

On the other side of the corridor is the bar, which is fairly basic, but that’s how the locals like it.

Darts, don and crib are played here, and the Hawcoat Village craic is dissembled.

Norman and Judy keep a well-stocked bar which includes a selection of real ales and seasonal beers.

Members of the Campaign for Real Ale use the pub, which says something about the quality of the gargle.

Norman once played semi-professional soccer for Barrow before leaving his job in the shipyard to join the Merchant Navy to see the world.

The pub gets a strong following from villagers, but drinkers also travel from other parts of town to enjoy the warm atmosphere.

Norman and Judy have been in the Kings since 1990, having previously been steward and stewardess of Barrow Island Conservative Club.

By Norman’s own admission, the pub is hardly a gold mine, but it’s friendly ambience will no doubt be a factor in attracting the next incumbents, whoever they may turn out to be.

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