New owner at The Circ Retro Bar in Burnley's Bank Parade is a big Clarets fan

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A new owner has taken over the reins of one of Burnley’s quirkiest and unique bars.

Graham Slade, who has 30 years plus experience in hospitality and retail management, has bought the lease for The Circ Retro bar in Bank Parade.

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“I am excited for the future at the bar, everything will stay as it is with just a few changes,” said Graham who is Burnley born and bred and attended the former Towneley High School. Graham was attracted to the quirkiness of the bar that is packed with vintage posters, souvenirs, and interesting items collected by former owner Ray Harrison over the years while he travelled the world. Graham said: “You can see something different every time you step into the bar, it’s a great little venue.

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Graham Slade has taken over the reins of The Circ Retro bar in BurnleyGraham Slade has taken over the reins of The Circ Retro bar in Burnley
Graham Slade has taken over the reins of The Circ Retro bar in Burnley

“Many things make a bar successful and the staff, a good vibe, quality drinks on offer and the cleanliness of a place are important.”

The opening of the bar, along with the neighbouring music venues, The Circus Cafe Lounge and the Electric Circus, which are both housed in former industrial warehouses, created a Manchester style Northern Quarter vibe in the town. The lease for both the Circus Cafe Lounge and the Electric Circus are still up for sale.

Burnley fan Graham (54) left school at 15 and his first job in the licensed trade was at the former Old Red Lion pub in Burnley. He rose to position of bar/ cellarman and at the age of 23 decided it was time to buy his first pub, which he did by moving down to Essex, where he didn’t know a soul. Since then Graham has run several pubs across the UK and he owns The Crown Inn in Bacup which last year was named as the Rossendale Pub of the Year by CAMRA. His retail experience includes working as a ‘trouble shooter’ for a number of failing companies to get them back on track.

Married for 23 years to his wife Donna the couple have five grandchildren and their son Callum has started working in The Circ bar. While he loves working in the licensed trade Graham admits hospitality is still recovering from the pandemic in an ‘uphill struggle.’ He added: “As the breweries put prices up we have to do the same but a bar like mine is a small business and we are just trying to make a living but we are aware that people want value for money when they go out.”

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