Last orders for city pub as 'rising costs' pushes them out of business

The Jolly Tap Real Ale Cafe on Northgate is calling last orders in August because of “rising costs” and “falling revenues since reopening during the pandemic.”

By Shawna Healey
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 12:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th June 2022, 12:55 pm

Jolly Tap opened in 2017 as the flagship bar for Jolly Boys Brewery, based in Barnsley. The pub is set to close on Sunday, June 14.

Co-director of the craft beer business, Hywel Roberts, says that he “gutted” that the pub is having to close down but is hopeful to make a return to the district in the next few years.

He said that there has been a “change in habits” and that people are preferring to stay at home or go out for a meal rather than visit a bar in the city centre following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Jolly Tap is closing in August.

He also said that a rise in costs of utility bills, rent and products, coupled with falling revenue and footfall means that it is not financially viable to keep the taps turned on.

He said: “The pub is a victim of the pandemic and we’re not alone in this. We’ve tried very hard to make things work.

“Before the pandemic, we had a great scene going on but I think there has been a change of habit of going out for a meal in the city centre.

"People would rather go out for a meal and stay for a drink in a restaurant than go to a pub for the night.”

One of the co-directors of the pub said it has to shut because of "rising costs."

The pub opened five years ago as the main bar for the brewery, which sells the much-loved Jolly Yorkshire Bitter, Jolly Blonde, Marshmallow Porter, Black Forest Porter and other craft cans.

Hywel said the “brewery aspect” of the business is going well and that their other bar in Barnsley is “thriving”.

The company is also planning to open another venture in Morthope which will serve a “more local customer base”.

He added: “We love Wakefield and it is heartbreaking that we have to close. We opened

Jolly Tap five years ago and it was our flagship bar. We pride ourselves on selling good locally-brewed ale.

“We just want to do the right things and for us currently, it is to shut. However, the Jolly Tap in Barnsley is thriving and we have a bar opening in Morthope which will have a more local customer base.

“We have big plans coming in the next few years which includes a return to Wakefield.”

Hywel also said that he has been met with an “outpour of love” from patrons who visit the bar. “We’ve been blown away by the comments on Facebook.

“We thought people were going to be really negative but we’ve had an outpour of love,

unfortunately, it has not translated into a situation where we can keep going”, Hywel added.

A commenter on Facebook, said: “Very sad news. The Jolly Tap was a great little venue and will be sadly missed. I hope the Jolly Tap on the Arcade continues to thrive and all the very best for your future adventures.”