New spirit served in first church pub

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The Independent Online
THE FIRST Christian pub in the country opened yesterday. The Cock and Bottle in Bradford will be serving pints as well as counselling and perhaps a spot of evangelism.

They've been serving liquor there since 1747 but the building was exorcised before the Bradford Pub Consortium of 12 local church people took over. A landlady killed her violent partner on the premises three years ago. Blood was also shed at the site during the Civil War three centuries ago. It's said a secret tunnel, dating from Cromwell's times, led from the pub cellar to the nearby cathedral.

But now the Victorian Grade II listed building has been leased by the consortium who will run it in a district where the institutional churches are weak. The Rev Robin Gamble, a Bradford vicar whose tipple is a pint of traditional bitter, said: "After much prayer we feel called to be where the needy people really are."

The landlord, Malcolm Wells, 57, who ran two Dales pubs, added: "People won't be God-blasted. They won't get tracts shoved into their hands, but we hope they will find themselves mixing happily with Christians and through them come to know Jesus."