In a bid to beat the smoking ban, increasing tax on beer, and now the credit-crunch, a town-centre pub is turning to music-lovers to help boost trade.
The Unicorn, opposite the Regent Theatre in Hanley, is host to a variety of exciting acoustic acts every Sunday evening, from this weekend. This traditional pub has been holding an open-mike acoustic night on the last Sunday of every month for four years, and is now expanding the musical programme to attract fans of all kind of music.
There will be something for everyone in a line-up for September which includes home-grown guitarists performing original tracks, polished entertainers doing covers, and even a Trad jazz band.
Licensee Matt Taylor hopes that the new agenda will bring new faces into his traditional English pub. He said: "The Unicorn is a great little pub. But the fact that it's so small means many people don't know its here. I am hoping that the new entertainment on Sundays will bring new customers to the pub, who will like the place and the company, and so will come back on other days of the week when they are in town.
"Times have been hard for the pub trade in the last year. First we had the smoking ban which hit pubs like mine hard. Then we had the budget where we saw hikes in tax on beer, wine and spirits. And now we have to struggle through this difficult economic period. So we need to persuade people to come out and enjoy themselves."
"I think this is a great way of doing it at the same time as giving local musicians the chance to get in front of people."
"There is a huge amount of talent in this area, and for some reason, very few venues that offer live music - especially for free."
Fred Williamson and the Coach Trad Jazz band will be performing on Sunday 14th September and once a month from then on. He said: "This month there are three different acts on with a variety of stuff on offer. We are looking forward to being right in the centre of town and in a place where, because of its size, the audience will be right amongst the musicians."
"To have this at a popular pub rather than a hall somewhere is a great opportunity for people to listen to live jazz in the middle of Hanley."
"I don't think there is anything else like it in the city centre at the