The Licensing Act of 2003 made it far easier to obtain a license for a 'Micropub'. Defined as a small, one-roomed 'Public House', the first one opened in 2005.
The popularity of Micropubs increased so much, that the 'Micropub Association'. was formed in 2012. They define a Micropub as "a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks". In 2012, two were included in The Campaign for Real Ale's yearly awards for the first time.
So far, I've been in three Micropubs and loved them all. The enthusiasm and dedication is very impressive, as is the quality of the Beer, Cider, Wine and Gins. The atmosphere, conversation and absence of electronic noise is very welcome. None of the dead-eyed cynicism and opportunism of the large chains currently dominating the pub scene.
I would heartily recommend the Chapeltown Tap House & Gin Bar. Very nice place, under the arches of the Chapeltown Railway Bridge with excellent Yorkshire produce, including occasional free snacks, (very appealing to a Yorkshireman!) Their website can be found here:
The Hourglass in New Milton, Hampshire is owned by friends of mine and they have done a fabulous job of it! Just about to celebrate it's first Birthday, The Hourglass has quickly become very popular with Locals and passing Beer enthusiasts alike. They have a very wide selection of Beers and Ciders, constantly changing. They adhere strictly to the ethos of a Micropub, but also allowing drinkers to eat their Takeaway, whilst trying a few beers! Their website can be found here.
The Wath Tap is another favourite. Opening in 2016, it's quickly become one of the best pubs in the area, winning the CAMRA 'Rotherham Pub of the Year' competition in 2017 and 2018 a(and deservedly so!) We had our Engagement party in February of this year at Wentworth Woodhouse, they provided the 'Outbar' and did an outstanding job, highly recommended! Every time I'm back in Wath (to see Mrs Peeps), we make a point of visiting, it's a great little pub. Their website can be found here.