Video: Burnley bar Fitzpatrick's opens as new landlady promises town centre venue 'for everyone'
The landlady who has taken on one of Burnley's most prominent buildings is relishing the challenge despite fully expecting restrictions to carry on past June 21st.
Fitzpatrick's, located within the former Wetherspoons building in Manchester Road, opened its doors to the public for the first time today.
Jaimie Hopwood, who also runs the Thornton Arms in Worsthorne, is excited to "finally be open" after spending months transforming the landmark town centre building.
"Obviously we've had the Thornton for a long time. We were looking at another pub, and then this one came up and we thought, 'Why not?'
"It's something completely different to what we're used to and we're ready for the challenge.
"It's been a Wetherspoons for a long time, but when you see the size of the building and the different floors, there's a lot of potential.
"We've completely refurbed the place, and we've done it all ourselves; family, friends, customers from the other pub – everybody's chipped in.
"I thought it was lacking a bit of a character, so we've gone for warming colours and things like that.
"It's a little bit trendy but it's still old fashioned looking, so I hope everybody likes it. And the carpet's gone!"
The building was renamed 'Fitzpatrick's' in honour of Jaimie and Lauren's grandparents Danny and Edi.
It will be open seven days a week, from 11am, and a full food menu – including breakfast – will be coming soon.
"We're going to be opening daily just for beer to begin with, and then progress [to food], because under the current restrictions it does take its toll on us.
"There will be pub classics and things like that, but I think we'll be going with a bit more of street food vibe."
Bar owners across the country are eagerly anticipating Boris Johnson's next announcement around restrictions with June 21st circled in everyone's calendars.
However, Jaimie fully expects the date to be put back.
"Obviously we'd all like the restrictions lifting, but with them being lifted it does bring massive issues. We've got real staffing issues.
"The table service is a little bit hard work but at least it's controllable. Once the restrictions lift I have a feeling it's going to be like a free for all."
On the topic of staff shortages, she said: "I just think it's the hospitably trade full stop. We've been penalised the most and people don't know where we're going or when the restrictions are going to be lifted.
"A lot of people, when they were on furlough, didn't know when they were going to come back to work, so a lot have found other jobs and right now, it's really hard to find decent staff.
"We've been advertising for staff for here and at the Thornton, but nobody over the age of 18 has actually given us their CVs.
"I've never known that in all my years. You used to be able to find staff at the drop of a hat. It's very worrying."