Continental-style café culture is coming to Morpeth as a wine retailer opens up a street service.
Patrick Eyres, of Bin 21, will introduce the outdoor café across the road from his existing business in the leafy area outside the Chantry, serving coffee, wine and beer.
The idea has come from discussions with Northumberland County Council tourism chiefs and aims to create a craft quarter around Chantry Place.
Mr Eyres said: “Hopefully this is going to be a footfall driver for the Chantry craft and tourist information centre, and the whole of that area.
“As you come across the Telford Bridge and turn left it is a really good place for cafe tables and we want to try to create more of a craft quarter in that area. There is already the wool shop, a picture framer, the craft centre and the bagpipe museum. It is about getting residents to come down and be part of that.
“There is nowhere else in Morpeth where you can sit in a nice square and have a coffee or glass of wine by the roadside.”
The wine merchant already runs a similar successful venture in Hexham and believes that Morpeth will also benefit.
“The outdoor café at Hexham is outside the Abbey and that has been hugely popular,” he said.
“Customers will come in the morning and have a coffee, and then in the afternoon they might want wine and local ale. It is really fantastic.”
Mr Eyres has teamed up with Abdul Muhit of the neighbouring Morpeth Tandoori to serve nibbles alongside the drinks each day between noon and 2pm.
The venture had caused concern at Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee as members pointed out that Bin 21 has a licence to serve alcohol between 9am and midnight, seven days a week.
However, Mr Eyres said the outdoor service will close in the early evening.
“I have got to be a responsible retailer,” he said.
“We are not trying to attract a late-night outdoor pub culture.
“It is about providing a place where people can come with their families or while they are out walking the dog, sit down and have a glass of wine if they want.
“It will be open until about 6pm or 7pm and after that we will pack away and the tables will be gone.
“We don’t want that area to attract people from the bars across the road to use it as a smoking area. That certainly won’t happen.
“It is to bring a bit of Continental cafe culture to the area, not an outside drinking area into the late hours.
“We hope it will bring a lift to that part of the town.”
The café will open on Saturday at the Morpeth Food and Drink Festival.
Town councillors said they supported the idea of a Continental-style café, but would monitor the hours of its operation.
Coun David Parker said: “I’m very much in favour of café culture, but I would feel much more comfortable if the licence had been amended in such a way as to ensure a cut-off at six o’clock at night.”