Hartlepool micropub is reopening for the first time since Covid-19 lockdown
Hartlepool’s smallest pub is set raise a glass as it reopens for the first time since the pandemic.
The Rat Race Ale House, at Hartlepool railway station, closed its doors at the start of the first national lockdown in late March last year and the taps have remained dry ever since.
But real ale fans and weary travellers will be able to enjoy a drink once more in the micropub when it reopens after nearly 19 months on Thursday, October 14.
Landlord Peter Morgan said: “The people who have kept in touch with me have texted me over the 19 months.
"There’s definitely some eager people out there.”
But while Peter is looking forward to serving up the drinks again, he said it won’t be exactly the same as before Covid.
Due to its small size and on council advice, the pub will operate on a table only service to begin with which means capacity will be limited to 20 people.
Customers are preferred to be double vaccinated as well as part of Peter’s efforts to keep everyone safe.
He said: “It’s going to be different, almost like starting afresh because so much appears to have changed, and I don’t know how people are going to react.
"The plan is to keep it as safe as I possibly can for everybody and minimise the risk.”
There will be no reservation system in use and it will be first come first served to begin with.
There will also be hand sanitiser on tables for customers to use.
The Rat Race Ale House, made from a converted office at the railway station, is one of the tiniest watering holes in the whole country.
It measures around the same size as an average living room at just six metres (around 20ft) by four and a half metres (15ft).
Since opening more than a decade ago, when it was touted as the country’s second smallest pub, Peter has served up a total of 17,069 different ales from 492 different breweries.
He said he will have a good variety as always for customers to check out when the doors reopen on Thursday.
The Rat Race will be open Tuesdays to Fridays at 12.02pm-2.15pm and 4.02pm-8pm and Saturdays at 12.02pm-9pm.