THERE is a light at the end of the tunnel for Morecambe’s pubs, claim the new award-winning tenants of the Pier Hotel.
Debbie and Lee Carter were given a Best Newcomer award by brewers Scottish and Newcastle just six months after taking over the popular promenade venue.
And the Carters believe that despite the recent closures of Morecambe bars like Ma Murphy’s and the Park, their success proves the town’s crisis-hit pub scene is capable of recovery.
“Morecambe’s pub trade is not dead,” said Mrs Carter, who previously worked as head receptionist at the Strathmore Hotel.
“People still have money to spend. Not everybody wants to stay in and drink at home.
“But you’ve got to get your pub right. I know from going out myself, when something is wrong in a pub. For example, your toilets have to be spotless.
“We’ve put hanging baskets up outside, decorated inside, whitewashed everywhere. The brewery will soon be painting the frontage and the kitchen will be refurbished so we can serve food.
“It has been a tough time for pubs but we’re not here for competition.
“We’ve all got to stick together in the trade.”
Meanwhile the Royal Bar on Morecambe promenade is also undergoing a major refurbishment.
Owner Sean O’Hagan has invested in an extensive upgrade to the bar, toilets, floor and other interior fittings, aiming to reopen for business later this year.
“I feel there is an opportunity here to take this pub up in quality,” said Mr O’Hagan, who owns several properties on the seafront including the Crown Hotel and Eva’s restaurant.
“I’m looking to attract more people away from Lancaster who want to spend a night in Morecambe and move between the pubs.
“Morecambe needs a lift and hopefully this will increase trade for everyone. People need choice.”
Mr O’Hagan said the project would create jobs including a new manager.
He will also refurbish the second floor of the Marine Road Central building as a function room and create eight rooms in the top floor for contractors’ accommodation.