TRAVELLING to the other side of the world gave the new manager of a landmark Carlisle venue the taste for the pub business.
Matt Womersley, 26, worked in bars in Sydney and Perth in Australia, during a year out from
studying for a diploma in product design.
“I absolutely loved it. It was cool and crazy, and I learned so much about the industry, it was a fantastic experience,” said Matt.
Now Matt is putting his knowledge of the drinks business to great effect as the new face of the Howard Arms and its upstairs gin parlour Said The Actress To The Bishop in Carlisle city centre.
“I enjoy making sure the place is full of life and energy. It doesn’t matter if you are 21 or 92, you are more than welcome here,” said Matt.
Since Dianne Irving, managing director of Drouth Limited, invested £350,000 in refurbishing the Howard Arms and creating its upstairs gin parlour Said The Actress To The Bishop more
women, and younger customers, have been attracted to the venue which has still also retained its loyal clientele.
Matt said: “The first thing you see when you walk through the door is the gin range. It’s a nice welcome. It’s much more inviting, and we are attracting a much more diverse range of
“I absolutely love it. The locals are fantastic. I have a craic with them and they have a craic with me which is great.”
Matt is also enjoying the success of the Said The Actress To The Bishop gin parlour, upstairs at the Howard, which is a first for the city.
“You see somewhere like this in Newcastle or Manchester, but it’s something new for Carlisle, which is great - the whole 1920s decor, the way the drinks are served in a Speakeasy way where the spirits are brought out on trays.
“The gin experiences where you learn about the history and different gins and get to sample
three different gins, and G and Teas where you get to enjoy the gin with your sandwiches,
prawn cocktail, scotch eggs, scones, and cakes, it’s all great and something new for the city.”
Matt, from Cottingley, near Bradford, who studied product design at UCLAN in Preston, also
plans to bring some new ideas to the Howard and Said The Actress To The Bishop.
He’s already recently introduced a Quiz Night every Tuesday (7pm for a 7.30pm start) hosted by lively quizmaster ‘Mac’.
And he’s considering introducing poker nights and pudding clubs to Said The Actress To The
Bishop in the coming weeks.
Dianne said: “We are delighted to announce Matt as the manager of The Howard and Said The Actress To The Bishop gin parlour upstairs.
“It’s a business which is going really well. We’ve got a good mix of customers, of all ages, and there’s a much more cosmopolitan feel to it now.
“People who come in to the Howard say ‘wow this has changed’. Then they go upstairs and see Said The Actress To The Bishop and they are amazed as they didn’t even know it was there.
“Matt has a great attitude, he’s full of ideas, and he’s putting together a really strong team. He’s being supported really well by the more experienced members of the team.
“We have great people across our business. And we are really focused on training and
development to ensure there’s the opportunity and incentive for people to fulfil their potential.
“Matt is a great example of someone we were really pleased with when he first joined us, and are thrilled that he’s made the step up to manager, and are excited about what he can go on to achieve in the business.”
Dianne’s Drouth Limited business will further expand next month with the opening of the
Milbourne Arms in Shaddongate, Carlisle. She also runs The Crown in Stanwix, which is up for three national awards, and the White Mare at Beckermet.