A WOMAN who had never left her hometown of Ellesmere Port for any prolonged period isn't regretting her decision to take over a pub in St Helens.

ON a cold Wednesday afternoon when much of the town centre is quiet, one pub is booming and full of life.

At the Market Tavern on Bridge Street, barely a seat is free as the live singer entertains guests with an abundance of classic songs and northern wit.

It is a typical mid-week afternoon at the Tavern, according to landlady Michele Ashbrooke, who said that one of her main aims since taking over as landlady is to "let people have fun".

Chester and District Standard: The Tavern was booming on a Wednesday afternoonThe Tavern was booming on a Wednesday afternoon (Image: St Helens Star)
Working in pubs and hospitality for her whole career, Michele said that it was always a dream to have a venue for herself and was offered the top job at the Amber Taverns' pub in April 2023.

As she had never left her Ellesmere Port hometown for any prolonged period of time, the 43-year-old admitted that she did have initial reservations about the move, but said that it is "one of the best things that [she] has ever done".

Michele, who lives above the pub with her granddaughter, said: "I'd never left Ellesmere Port properly before and I was leaving all my family and friends behind, so I was very nervous.

"People told me I shouldn't go to St Helens but I honestly fell in love with the pub and the people straight away.

"As soon as I got here, the regulars were telling me they'll support me no matter what, and I've got to know so many amazing people since being here."

Chester and District Standard: Tavern customers over ChristmastimeTavern customers over Christmastime (Image: Market Tavern)
Although business has taken a little dip after a busy festive period, as is usually the case in January, Michele said that the pub still attracts a full house for its variety of events throughout the week.

To entertain customers, this includes live singers, DJs, karaoke, and live sports, while extra effort is put on for special occasions such as Christmas, New Year, Remembrance Day.

With the Tavern opening as early as 9am, there is also a range of regulars who pop in and support the pub at various times throughout the day, while Saints games also provide a particular buzz as fans prepare for home and away matches.

Chester and District Standard: The pub also boasts a large beer gardenThe pub also boasts a large beer garden (Image: St Helens Star)
Michele added: "I'm very passionate about what I do and I want to make sure I put something on throughout the week to let people have fun.

"We have regulars coming in from morning until night and you do become close to them, I feel like an agony aunt at times but it is so nice that people can open up to you! We even opened from 9am until 5pm on Christmas Day just so people had somewhere to go.

"I've had nine months here and I absolutely love it. People have been so welcoming so I really want to make them happy and make sure that the pub is a safe and comfortable place to be."

Chester and District Standard: The Market Tavern, on Bridge StreetThe Market Tavern, on Bridge Street (Image: St Helens Star)