Is this the smartest smoking shelter in the country?
The owners of the Mason’s Arms in Billinge have gone to extra-special lengths to make smokers feel at home.
Not only have they built a plush log cabin-style smoking shelter, they have also decked it out with ultra-comfy chairs, a double log-burner, a piano, a picture gallery and even a library!
Landlord John Ruffell, 62, said: “It’s pretty cosy in there – especially in winter when the fire’s going. It started out as just a wooden hut but has evolved into something pretty special since. It didn’t cost that much, either, as I built it.
“The timber came to about £800 and a few of our regulars are joiners and were only too happy to give me a few pointers.
“We get lots of comments about it now – especially from new customers. We’ve even had customers in from as far away as Canada and Australia in recent months and the likes of Carley Stenson too.”
John, who runs the Carr Mill Road pub alongside Gill and Ian Smith, told how they wanted to give smokers “somewhere warm and comfortable” to spend their evenings, even though they are no longer permitted to smoke inside the pub.
He added: “We wanted to make it as comfortable as possible and we’ve now got a hardcore of customers who use it all the time – in fact they only come into the pub to go to the bar!
“We’ve got a group who go in there for a quiz every Wednesday night too.
“The Mason’s Arms has been in Ian’s family for 40-plus years now and that continuity can only help. We’ve won a Camra award every year since 2007.”