L-R: Vinaya Jigajinni, James Benson and Sarah Smith
L-R: Vinaya Jigajinni, James Benson and Sarah Smith
Richard Bell

North Tyneside man becomes micropub entrepreneur after being made redundant

A North Tyneside man made redundant from several customer service jobs in recent years has turned his love of real ale and rum into a business.

James Benson is the brains behind the Front Street Tap House, a new micropub in Monkseaton.

The venue, located at 17b Front Street, will stock around 20 varieties of rum initially with plans to offer more in the future. It will also specialise in real ales from independent breweries around the North East and Yorkshire.

Front Street Tap House is the first venture by James Benson, who was made redundant from a number of customer service roles before deciding he wanted to be his own boss.

His pub is located near the coastal ‘beer-muda triangle’, which comprises the Left Luggage Room in Monkseaton and Whitley Bay’s Dog and Rabbit and Nord Bottle Shop.

Originally from Leeds, James now lives in Wallsend.

He said: “Over a 10-year period, my wife and I had been made redundant six times between us, and I reached a point where I thought either I continue to work in this unstable corporate world where I could be looking for a new job every three years, or I be my own boss and do something that I’ve always wanted to do.

“Front Street Tap House is one of the only venues in the North East to specialise in rum, which is widely expected to become as popular as gin within the next five years, and we will also have a great range of ales too.”

He continued: “The definition of a micropub is somewhere you can go to enjoy a drink while also enjoying conversation and some good craic, without the loud music and big screens you get in most places these days, and that is what we are going to create here.

“The coast is a brilliant place to be, its real ale venues are fantastic, and with the regeneration of Spanish City, it’s such a popular place and growing all the time.”

Speaking further, James said: “I have had so much support already for my venture from fellow owners of micropubs, such as the guys from the Left Luggage Room and from the Town Mouse in Newcastle, it’s a very welcoming and supportive network. I am really looking forward to the future and to welcoming real ale and rum lovers into Front Street Tap House.”

Sarah Smith, head of licensing at Newcastle law firm Sintons, supported James in his licensing application, while real estate solicitor Vinaya Jigajinni handled the completion of the lease on the premises.

Sarah commented: “James has taken his own love and knowledge of real ale and rum to create a super little venue, which is in an ideal location being so near to well-established fellow independent operators.

“James’ venture adds further to the growing portfolio of really dynamic and exciting independent leisure venues we have in the North East and we wish him the best of luck with the Front Street Tap House.”

Front Street Tap House is open every day except Monday.

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