Albourne's Pop Up Pub - Albourne Village Hall, West Sussex

By Lucy Webb

The pop up pub in Albourne Village Hall, launched in July 2015 and held every Friday evening, is a bid to bring locals together and provide a weekly social event for Albourne and its growing numbers of residents and workers.

The pub was an idea put forward by Meg Price, who is the Chairman of Albourne Parish Council, and who responded to the question; how do we introduce new people into the village and to each other, and help them to feel as though they are part of a community?

150 years ago, Albourne was primarily  a farming community, but today it’s home to many new small to medium sized businesses, along with many new residents.

It seems to be a general feeling amongst Albourne residents that they need a more central designated meeting/social space. This is partly because the church is not actually in the centre of the village, and there is no high street to speak of with the usual cafes, pubs and public spaces that people traditionally get together in. Albourne parish council has listened to its residents concerns about their feelings of isolation within the village, and decided that the Village Hall should become more of a community focus and general meeting point for locals.

At the pub’s opening on a Sunday afternoon in July last year, there were 20 or so bartenders, who are all volunteers, and the pub enjoyed an impressive 40 to 50 visitors. There was also a  good turn out at a special Christmas themed evening last year, with visitors enjoying  mulled wine and mince pies.

Local businesses provide the drinks, such as Giles Cutlack at South Downs Cellars in charge of organising wine, and the Dark Star brewery of Partridge Green providing beer.

The Village Hall has recently benefited from refurbishment, and the committee hope to be given the go ahead to improve the kitchen facilities, which will in turn open up the options for social activities.

Other potential ideas have emerged from meetings of a newly formed committee to decide on events that could be held at the Village Hall later this year. These include a Christmas fair with a Santa’s grotto, a craft fair showcasing the many varied arts and crafts produced in the area, film night, race nights, live music and quizz nights too.

There could also be a family fun day planned for the summer, as the hall does have some outside space that could lend itself well to this type of event.

So whether you’re an Albourne resident looking to get to know your neighbours, or someone from outside the village keen to meet new people from the village you generally just drive through, visit the pop up pub for a pint or a glass of something local and make some new friends.

The Mid Sussex Older People’s council have also set up Afternoon Tea events at the village hall, and this is now run by Ann Higginson, who is the Chairman of the Village Hall Management Committee. Ann hopes that this event will attract a wide range of people, as she says, ‘everyone is welcome’, so it’s worth a visit to enjoy a cuppa, some cake and a good old natter. This is held on the fist Tuesday of every month between 2.30-4.30pm at the Albourne Village Hall.

The pop up pub is held every Friday from 8.30-10.30pm at the Albourne Village Hall, The Street, Albourne.