he Old Market Tavern is under new management but not by some faceless interloper. Pete Carroll is an old Altrincham resident and returns from his many appointments around the world to take the helm at this iconic Altrincham venue. Pete and his business partner have big plans for the place. Hale and Altrincham life caught up with him and reports back below:
Sitting on Chester Rd on the North side of Altrincham and formerly known as The Unicorn Hotel, The Hog’s head and Peppards. This Grade II listed building was part built in 1690 by the first Earl of Warrington and then extended to be the Town Hall in 1855 by the 7th Earl of Stamford. It has served as a Mail Coaching inn, Bank and even a temporary Courthouse.
Local justice was meted out there as evidenced by the whipping post and stocks sitting in the middle of the old market square which adjoins. The pub was the main mail stop from Chester to Manchester in the 17th-19th century and is also purported to be haunted. There is also rumour of a tunnel connecting it to the old police station just round the corner, opposite the petrol station. The postcard below is an old photo of the the square with the Unicorn in the background from the 1880s:
Pete told us about his life in Altrincham and his plans for the pub.
“My parents are from Timperey so I consider myself an Altrincham lad, I was brought up on Westminster Road in Hale, I went to Stamford Park and then William Hulme and then went to Catering College. After that I left to work at the The Cresta Court, initially as a pot washer! – by the time I was 18 I had worked in every department. I then moved to the Bowdon Hotel and by 1989 I had worked up to Deputy manager. I then managed The Railway in Hale in 1989-1991”
Pete left the catering industry and retrained to become a Financial Advisor. After working in the UK for a couple of years he got the internationl bug and worked in several countries before moving to India permanetly in 2000, working in the offshore financial servies industry. Whilst working in Ghana in 2004 Pete fell in love with a bar that he used to drink in and ended up running it. It became Accra’s premier sports bar and nightclub. He then got homesick and spent three years running a hotel in Kinighton in Wales before the wonderlust caught hold and he moved back to Accra to run the nightclub once again. Pete explains the next move in his remarkable career:
“I was approached to run a safari camp deep in the Indian jungle where my responsibilities were the day to day running of the camp but also taking guests on safari to see elephants, tigers and other wildlife”
“I then moved to Southern India in a place called Mysore in Karnataka to run the KRS Fishing Camp! I ran that for three years before being asked to come back to Altrincham to take over The Old Market Tavern”
Pete and his business partner have big plans for The Tavern which including the complete renovatation of the building. Parts of the building have been allowed to decay over the years including the basement club formerly ‘The Glory Hole’ or ‘The Blood Tub’ which used to be a popular local venue in the 1970s and 80s.
“We’ve got plans to re-open it as a cocktail bar, it used to be a drinking bar and I don’t think it’s been dusted since! it will be open just at weekends”
“Plans are afoot to vastly upgrade the bar area – we are also looking at upgrading all the upstairs room to turn it in to a proper 18 room hotel.
We also have big plans to renovate and upgrade the kitchen and improve the food quality. We will be using local ingredients, I’m hugely interested in the provenance of the food and all of our ales. We love to use local beers for example, we have beer from Poynton and Mobberley this week. We don’t use national breweries we use small independent local brewers.
Some people see it as a Rocker’s pub but it’s actually a fantastic community pub that has live music at weekends to suit all tastes. My idea is to have a proper wedding band on a Friday night so people my age group can come out and have a proper dance because there is nowhere in Altrincham that offers that. Saturday we will continue to concentrate on Rock bands and have a proper Rock night. Sunday night, the way it’s going it’ll probably end up as Karaoke night!
We have an all new fun quiz night, plenty of giveaway prizes, a shooter round where the whole team win shots and a beer round.”
The pub is set to be a fabulous venue under Pete’s new guidance, plenty going on and lots of reasons to keep going back. We have spent many a friday night at this fantastic venue listening to the bands which are free to see live. Sunday lunch is just £6.95 for a full roast dinner with all of the trimmings and Pete intends to build on this success with locally sourced goodies.
It’s fantastic to see this Altrincham landmark being brough to life by Pete, one of Altrincham’s great characters with his huge smile, big heart and easy disposition. He’s a massive fan of the town and a regular at Altrincham FC who has supported passionately since being a child. He has huge plans which he will share on Social Media so check out the pub’s Facebook page below.
All photos are the property of Hale and Altrincham Life – please don’t not use them without our permission.