Open Friday 7 pm – 12 am and Saturday 6.30 pm – 1 am
As well as an excellent selection of independent shops and a thriving town centre market, Skipton is home to an eclectic range of pubs and bars. If you’re heading to Skipton for a night out, you won’t be disappointed as there’s pretty much a drinking establishment to suit all. In this popular market town you’ll find traditional pubs offering good food, live music, quizzes and karaoke, scattered amongst trendy bars with extensive wine and gin lists and micro pubs serving fantastic local ales.
In recent years, Skipton has seen a number of new additions to its nightlife scene, many of which serve excellent cocktails. As part of our We Love Skipton campaign, we spoke to the owner of one of Skipton’s longest standing cocktail bars to find out more about what’s on offer in Skipton and what it takes to run a successful bar in this historic North Yorkshire town. Here’s our interview with Alistair MacLennan of Bojangles in Skipton…
Alistair, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to open Bojangles?
I was born and brought up in Leeds and my first career was banking which I got into by accident. At the age of 22 I decided to go travelling – I had a theory that you work until you’re 65 so if I take my 20s off I’ll work until I’m 75. If you spend a lot of time travelling you automatically fall into the hospitality world. The last two years of my 20s were spent working various restaurants in New York, this taught me my first cocktail experience. I came back to Yorkshire in 2000 and ran the White Lion at Kildwick which went very well. After I sold that I tried a few businesses which didn’t do so well , so went back to hospitality by opening Bojangles in 2007.
Bojangles is probably Skipton’s longest standing cocktail bar. What do you think makes you so popular with locals?
Bojangles has been open for over 12 years and I truly believe the number one reason is the level of service we offer. We always acknowledge our customers and our staff are consistently polite and helpful. We also serve very good quality cocktails at a reasonable prices.
You offer some excellent cocktail classes which would be perfect for an office Christmas party. Could you tell us a little more about these?
The cocktail making classes are a great, fun way to celebrate any occasion. For £12 everyone gets 3 cocktails each. The first 2 we teach you (whilst judging you) how to make and the third one is chosen individually from the menu and we make that one for you.
What is your most popular cocktail?
We have 3 cocktails that far outsell the rest of the menu:
1. The prosecco sherbet fountain is our own creation that combines two classics (Kir Royale and Bellini) with our twist. A glass of prosecco over ice with lemon sorbet, a measure of peach schnapps and a drizzle of cassis. The lemon sorbet gives a nice sharp taste .
2. Badger Milk is a white Russian with powdered chocolate on top. Very popular with the local football and rugby teams.
3. Pear Drop tastes just like the sweet and is made with vanilla vodka, pear juice and finished off with Grenadine drizzled on the top. Another one of our own creations.
The Christmas season is almost upon us, what would you say is the perfect cocktail for the festive period?
No drink says more about Christmas then Baileys. A Nutcracker cocktail is a double measure of Baileys, amaretto and vodka shaken hard and served over ice. It’s very rich but extremely yummy. Another one we do at Bojangles is an Espresso Martini with a shot of Baileys. The ingredients are a shot of espresso, kahlau, vodka and Baileys. All the ingredients need to be shaken for a long time then strained into a martini glass. The baileys just takes the bitterness out of the classic Espresso Martini.
Skipton’s nightlife has seen many changes in recent years with new openings popping up all the time. What advice would you give to someone opening a new business in Skipton?
When I first opened there weren’t really many choices for drinking in Skipton, other than the traditional pubs. When the recession hit in 2008 it was very difficult for everybody in the hospitality trade and quite a lot went out of business. In the last few years, more independent bars have opened and I believe this has given a boost to the town as there is more variety offered to people. Alexandras, Ackroyds and VSQ all provide fantastic cocktails which help draw people into Skipton who would otherwise go elsewhere.
To survive in this business you have to keep very positive and motivated. I think I’ve been extremely lucky with fantastic staff and great customers. Also, I really love my job! I get paid to party, and although on most Sundays Iend up regretting the partying bit, by Friday it’s all forgotten an I start again!
This article is part of our We Love Skipton campaign, launched to celebrate and promote some of Skipton’s independent businesses. To coincide with the campaign, we are running a competition in which one lucky reader will win a selection of prizes from Skipton’s independents – including a 1-litre bottle of Baileys from the lovely Alistair. There are only a few days left to enter so if you haven’t already, ENTER NOW.