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Published on November 9, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour

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There’s a tavern in the town

What’s the best response to a constant moan about not having a pub in your village? Apart from moving to a place where there is one, it’s to open your own. And that’s exactly what Stephen Olver (pictured above) did in Rowlands Gill, Derwentside.

The Railway Tavern opened in early October in a glass artist’s former studio. “I had never pulled a pint in my life,” says Stephen. “We were fed up with not having a pub since the Townley Arms closed in 2000.”

(Actually, the Vale of Derwent Social Club sits nearby and the café at the Gibside Estate across the river doubles as a pub at weekends.)

The Railway Tavern is bright and cheerful and features original framed historic photographs of Rowlands Gill. Beers on the bar are as local as they could be – Firebrick Brewery from Blaydon; Hadrian Border, Newburn, Newcastle, and the Old Potting Shed at High Spen. There’s also a well-chosen wine list.

In keeping with the micro-pub ethos, there are no televisions, background music or gaming machines, although customers are invited to pick up the guitar in the corner and play it.

Stephen is pleased with the way the local community has turned out in support – just what you need in a village with a thirst for more.


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Alastair Gilmour



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