The Sound of Skipton
by Ben Fitton
Throw together a lifelong love of vinyl music, a passion for locally produced craft ales and a healthy dose of punk-era spirit and what do you get? Luckily for those of us who like a drink with a difference, you end up with something like The Skipton Sound Bar.
Brainchild of co-founders Miles and Phil, The Skipton Sound Bar has gone down a storm with locals and out-of-towners alike since it opened in May 2015. So, wanting to know what all the fuss was about, The Skipton Press dropped in on Miles and bar manager Paul for a chat and nose around.
Oh, and for a beer or two, obviously. (Mine’s a pint of Sound Bar Pale if you’re asking.)
“Ditching that Monday morning feeling”
“Phil and I were in jobs we didn’t enjoy,” explained Miles, as he talked us through the Sound Bar’s beginnings. “We’d often dream about escaping the rate race and ditching that Monday morning feeling.
“One night we thought of opening a craft ale bar where people could listen to and buy vinyl. After all, our leisure time completely revolved around beer and music, so why not?
“After a few drinks it seemed like a really good idea… and it still seemed like a really good idea in the morning!”
Their confidence wasn’t misplaced – since opening, The Skipton Sound Bar has gone from strength to strength, and it’s not difficult to see why. Decorated in wall-to-wall music memorabilia, there’s a welcoming warmth and authentic feel to the place – the perfect spot for a few beers with friends or a cultured cup of coffee with your favourite reading material. All, of course, whilst listening to the eclectic Sound Bar playlist that ranges from Bowie to Blondie, The Pretenders to Prince and Muse to Madness.
Against the grain
Speaking to Miles and Paul it soon became clear that their vision for the Sound Bar goes against the modern grain.
For starters, they don’t advertise much, preferring the Sound Bar gospel to spread through word-of-mouth. (They didn’t even promote their launch night!) What’s more, they refuse to sell their vinyl online. “Rather than sell on the internet,” said Miles, “we want people to drop in and see us, to pick through the vinyl whilst enjoying a beer or coffee. We’ve created a destination here and we want people to come and experience it.”
“We wanted to do something anti-corporate,” said Paul, summing up their ethos. Which explains their policies on buying ales only from Yorkshire micro-breweries and stocking beers not available in any other Skipton pub or bar.
Miles, Phil and Paul even have an uncommon approach to opening times. To maintain a relaxed atmosphere that encourages responsible, sociable drinking, and that also allows them to spend more time with their families, they don’t stay open any later than 9 pm.
Hosts with the most
All in all, as champions of local craft ales and great music – whether it’s played from their purpose-built DJ booth or during one of their live music events – the Skipton Sound Bar is as far away from an identikit pub chain as you can imagine.
And we can’t wait to go back.
Photography by Will Gascoigne