New tapas menu and a bigger venue: How Northamptonshire wine bar has adapted to Tier 2

Since the bar reopened at the end of the second national lockdown, the new tapas menu has been a hit

A popular wine bar in a Northamptonshire village has moved to a bigger premises and created a tapas menu in order to stay open during Tier 2 restrictions.

Ruby & Claret had been based at the top of Station Road in Earls Barton since it opened in November 2018.

However the premises had a capacity of 18 and food was only served there on tasting evenings, so the business would not have been able to reopen when the ‘substantial meal’ restriction was introduced.

The wine bar has reopened in a bigger venue, with a tapas menu. Photo: Hannah Hall at Cuts The Mustard.

Instead, owner Clare Deer, acquired a bigger premises in The Square next to Little India.

The building, which used to be a nail salon, can accommodate more than double the previous location and was large enough for the owners to install a kitchen equipped to manage a daily hot menu.

Clare, who has lived in the village for more than a decade, said: “It’s a beautiful old building with loads of character and a better view of the square.

“We can now accommodate 32 people downstairs, which will be the wine bar and 24 people upstairs for the bistro.

The owner is hoping to continue serving tapas even after restrictions are lifted. Hannah Hall at Cuts The Mustard.

“We were really popular but business was hampered by lockdown so we opened in the new premises as lockdown ended at the start of this month.

“We weren’t doing any food before so we would not have been able to open at all if we’d stayed where we were.”

As hospitality venues can only open and serve alcohol alongside a ‘substantial meal’ in Tier 2, the team launched a tapas menu to utilise the downstairs as well, including dishes such patatas bravas, Iberico ham croquettes and grilled chorizo.

Clare says the dishes have been so popular that she is making plans to continue two tapas nights a week once restrictions are lifted.

As well as the tapas, an Alpine Sunday menu and a bistro menu including an Earls Barton leek starter and pork belly main are also being served alongside specialty wines Wednesday to Sunday.

Clare added: “We’re at a reduced capacity but we’ve been full and booked out.

“We’ve been really well supported by customers and the community.

“They’ve loved the tapas so we’re looking at ways to keep it going on Wednesdays and Thursdays.”

Search Ruby & Claret Wine on Facebook to find out more and to book a table.

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