The Barley Mow – the country’s longest-established and much-loved LGBT venue – is back in safe hands following the departure of its disgraced former tenant, Daniel Fisher.
On 1 November, Stuart Turtill took over the Barley Mow, just weeks after taking on the Bear on Bedford High Street.
“I do know good pubs when I see them and we’d been after the Bear for about a year,” explained Stuart, who, until recently, ran the the Big Cat Coma pub in Leamington Spa.
“Once we got the go-ahead, things happened really quickly and we reopened the pub on 3 October.
“One of the first things we did was to meet up with Hannah Deverick. She’s got a great attitude and my job is basically to make sure we’ve got the right people here who can pull beer and be friendly!”
Hannah – who earned the Bear the CAMRA ‘Young pub of the Year’ award earlier this year – is now back behind the bar as manager of the Bear and will take on the license in December.
“We signed for the Barley Mow on 1 November and my daughter Katie will be running it,” said Stuart.
“We’re going to keep it exactly as it is – just enhance what’s already great about the pub. Fanny Burns will still be performing regularly and we’re hoping to soon open during the day to offer food.
“We want to bring it back to being a proper pub.”
“As one of the last standing bastions of LGBT nightlife in the county, The Barley Mow has become an irreplaceable, historic landmark that every Bedfordian should surely cherish,” said regular, Eddie Adams.
“Far more than just a gay bar, over the years it became a spiritual home to countless people from all walks of life, myself included.
“It’s weathered many a storm in its time but the key principle of inclusivity is built into the very foundations and has been a guiding light as it continues to be a place in which difference is celebrated and background is insignificant.
“Gay or straight, old or young, rich or poor it has always been a melting pot for generations of people just looking to let their hair down and have a good time. Long may it continue.”