Alan and Penny call time at Cellar Bar

Alan and Penny Sagar who are retiring from The Cellar Bar and Bistro in Barnoldswick
Alan and Penny Sagar who are retiring from The Cellar Bar and Bistro in Barnoldswick

A Barnoldswick couple at the helm of one of the town’s leading venues for 21 years have decided to retire.

Alan and Penny Sagar have served their last customers at the Cellar Bar and Bistro in Rainhall Road, a place which has had many guises under the Sagar name for more than 50 years, 21 of those under Alan and Penny’s stewardship.

Penny is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren Oliver (10), Isabelle (8) and Sebastian (4) while Alan is pursuing his interest in music playing with the band Slack Alice.

The venue has been the Cellar Bar and Bistro since 2012, but prior to that was the Rainhall Drinks Company when Alan and Penny won a string of national awards.

At its peak, the drinks business sold over 500 different beers and lagers, a specialism which saw them scoop the Booker Prize for Excellence in 2000, 2002 and 2003, beating off Booths and Morrisons to the accolades. They also had a successful outlet at Oswaldtwistle Mills for five years.

Alan said: “They were great days. We had a trip to Rome, dinner at a ranch next to the Grand Canyon after a helicopter trip and dinner on a yacht on the Hudson River with Manhattan in the background lit up at night. You had to pinch yourself to believe it.”

Wellock and Sagar as the business in Rainhall Road was in the 1970s

Wellock and Sagar as the business in Rainhall Road was in the 1970s

Penny said: “I can remember being on stage with Alan at the never thinking that we would win. But the two from Booths and Morrisons knew we would win because we could offer such a range. They were so nice about it and told us it was well deserved.”

Alan has worked in the business for 39 years and started when it was his parents Brian and Shirley’s grocers shop and later convenience store. He bought the business with Penny in 1995.

For the last four years as the Cellar Bar and Bistro, the couple’s food and hospitality saw them hold the number one spot on Trip Advisor in Barnoldswick for almost the entire time it was open.

One of the couple’s proudest and most successful ventures has been the launch of open mic nights on the last Sunday of each month, which has seen local music talent flourish.

Penny said: “Alan and I have been very proud of the food we have put out. It doesn’t matter what you do, it has to be bang on every time. You set a standard and have got to keep to it.

“We have had some brilliant staff and I would like to thank them. They have become part of the family and we have had such good support from them. When we have been down they have brought us right back up again. It’s quite emotional really.

“I would also like to thank all of our customers past and present and our children Melanie, Naomi and Stephen who have just been fabulous.”

The bar is set to be refurbished by Pete Barton and relaunched as the Barnoldswick Arts Centre.