IF there has one been one positive for pubs during the pandemic it’s been the public’s realisation that the future of our locals is worth protecting.

“The lockdown changed the face of our business dramatically,” said Keith Irving, landlord of The Traveller’s Rest in Bebington. “The age range of our regulars has really dropped - we’re an old fashioned pub but we have a whole new set of customers and a lot of it is thanks to word of mouth and what we did during lockdown.”

Ex-policeman Keith credits this new-found popularity with the pub’s hard work during lockdown for which they have just received a special award from Wirral CAMRA.

“Rather than sit on our heels and do nothing through the whole period we chose to start offering takeaway cask beer and food,” said Keith. “This developed into a local delivery service and we also set up a website for the sale of five litre barrels of cask ale.”

Meanwhile, Keith’s wife, Gill, began making cupcakes, pizzas, sandwich platters and even table decorations for Christmas.

“We tried our hand at everything,” said Keith. “It was a way of keeping ourselves sane and keeping the business going.

“We still had outgoings and needed cashflow so we had to do it or we would have watched the Government grant money waste away. It was a great way to top it up and keep us busy and it was also great for the young girls who work for us to come out and give us a hand delivering.”

The pub has been in Keith’s family for over 30 years and he took it on from his parents after taking early retirement in 2016. The pub’s history dates back even further first as a coaching inn on the edge of Storeton Woods and then from 1860 as a pub operated by Birkenhead Brewery. Today it has a country pub feel and is decorated throughout with brasses and bric-a-brac. At lunchtime the emphasis is on serving award-winning food, but in the evening this is very much a traditional pub.

“We can work anything up to 60 hours a week but it’s not work to us it’s a way of life,” said Keith. “We’re not going anywhere just yet!”

The Travellers Rest, Mount Road, Bebington. Tel: 0151 608 2988 / thetravsbebington.co.uk