I THINK it’s fair to say, there has been lots of negative press, in relation to the pub industry of late.

So, it’s about time I tempered the negativity and highlight some positive scribblings about what is deemed a beleaguered sector of the business market.

Did I say beleaguered?


Well, it ain’t a word that could be used for the present beery climate in this area in my opinion.

I am witnessing new pubs and bars opening on a weekly basis across our region. And another addition to the “pubs open” column, is Katy Kelly’s in Padiham.

Formerly the Kings Arms, across from St Leonard’s church, it had been a proper blot on the town’s main thoroughfare. The unsightly metal shutters had been in place for some time and it looked increasingly likely that they would stay firmly fixed to the rundown structure.

Thankfully, businessman John Duignan identified its potential and set about breathing new life into the former Kings Arms.

First impressions were positive on my visit as a most attractive mosaic tiled floored entrance, greets you.

It’s a bright, roomy, open plan establishment. Structurally, nothing appeared to have changed, however, the brown painted floors and decor that presented a dank interior previously are history.

Now, you witness a warm, chapel green decor. The painted floors and L-shaped bar, have been sanded back, and look very attractive. The fixed benched seating has been reupholstered. And there is a plentiful supply of soft furnished stools and chairs dotted around the place.

The re-opened pub has a fine selection of cask ales – six in total – including one of my favourite brewers, Pictish, from Rochdale. Their ales are superb. And John will have a permanently ever-changing brand on his bar.

He said: “Pictish Alchemist, was the first to sell out on opening weekend. All the casks, priced at £2.60, irrespective of strength, sold well – as did the Guinness (£3.20) and the lagers.”

I was sampling the Pictish Brewers Gold which had replaced the Alchemist. It’s a refreshing golden ale bursting with citrus flavours. Think lemon drizzle cake in a glass with a dry, light bitter finish. It was in excellent condition – this refresher will not last long – delicious drop.

John added: “We will be doing food soon. And we also intend to have a beer garden at the rear. This being subject to planning permission, as some structural alterations are required.”

Katy Kelly’s is a welcome addition to the Padiham pub circuit. You will find a warm, Irish welcome from its new owners.

John Duignan is to be commended for saving this pub. He, who had the vision and investment to convert a rundown eyesore into, what will undoubtedly be, in my opinion, a successful venture and an asset in the local community and beyond.

Is John Duignan a pub hero? Yes, he probably is.