Flying Cork pops back up on thriving St Cuthbert’s Street

The Flying Cork
John Barnes outside the newly opened Flying Cork

St Cuthbert’s Street has welcomed back an old friend, as independent wine merchant, John Barnes, returned to number 43 with his new business.

The Flying Cork opened on Saturday 31 October and the anticipation proved too much for some customers, who were waiting outside for the doors to reopen.

John’s original shop, The Blue Glass, opened in the same premises on St Cuthbert’s Street in 2008 and traded successfully for 11 years.

During that time, the street has attracted a host of new businesses, becoming a hub of Bedford’s independent retailers including Herd, Beerfly, Bears and Tales, Mimo’s, Lords & Ladies, The Store and Lola’s Garden at St Cuthbert’s Arcade alongside Roosters and Rice Thai.

“It’s great to be back,” John told the Bedford Independent. “As no one else had taken the shop on since we left, it felt like coming home.

“It’s been so nice to see so many old customers who I have not seen since the lockdown and they were all really pleased to see the shop open and that we were back selling wine.”

Returning to the shop has given John the opportunity to rethink the layout, particularly with social distancing in mind and add some new products too.

“We’ve added lots of new wines and spirits alongside plenty of the old favourites,” said John. “It was good to see customers and friends recognising their favourites.”

The Flying Cork will will be staying open during lockdown – albeit with reduced hours – and they will on the end of the phone to give advice and take orders for home deliveries.

“People like the personal service and range of wines and spirits not found in the supermarkets,” said John.

“Recommendations are a big part of what we do and the opportunity to taste wines before buying (and before lockdown) is a bonus.

“Home delivery during lockdown has been a great success and it’s been so nice to keep seeing our customers and topping up their wine racks.”

Top Christmas tipple? “Cremant De Bourgogne,” said John.

“Champagne in all but name and a step up alternative to Prosecco, classy stuff and great value. Ideal Christmas morning tipple to start the day with a sparkle which we could all do with at the moment.”

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