Sowerby Bridge's Alma Inn turns overflow car park into ‘second pub’ to maximise space as restrictions are relaxed

A pub in Calderdale has turned its overflow car park into a 'second pub' to maximise the space it has to welcome customers as coronavirus restrictions relax.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 2:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 2:04 pm

Pubs have spent thousands of pounds updating outdoor areas, and among those is The Alma Inn, in Sowerby Bridge

Venues in England with outdoor seating reopened on Monday for the first time since the beginning of January.

Half of Britons are planning to make a dash for the pub or a restaurant when the rules ease, a recent poll by investment bank Jefferies found.

Alma Inn, Sowerby Bridge

The Alma Inn has invested heavily by converting an overflow area by the car park to make what its Instagram account dubbed a “second pub”.

The new area includes a mobile bar, food truck and new benches, while the land also had to be levelled.

“Previously we just had a few benches on it,” John Priest, 38, one of the pub’s managers, said. “You’re kind of on a slope, it is 50 yards away from the pub, so it was like an overflow.

“Rather than just using it as an overflow area, and having a handful of benches, we’re attempting to maximise the space that we’ve got.

The Alma Inn near Halifax has invested heavily in converting an overflow area by the car park to make what its Instagram account dubbed a "second pub"

“We have to be ready for the demand. If we get to a point next week or the week after where we didn’t have anywhere for people to sit, then we would have failed as a business in our eyes.

“If we can’t satisfy the demand that’s there, then we’ve got it wrong.”

Mr Priest said the next two weeks at the Alma Inn – which is run by general manager James Sullivan and owned by Lee Roberts – will be among the biggest of his career.

“I know that everything I have done before is going to pale in comparison to the kind of numbers we are going to do in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “That’s got to be an exciting thing.”