For any new venture the first year is a testing and trying time, and there's even more of an uphill struggle for a new food or drink venue launching at a time when people are keeping a close eye on the purse strings.
But the thing is, it should be tough. Unlike some members of the beery community I totally agree with it being tough for pubs and bars, because it makes people try harder, strive for more and run better businesses. Call me a cold-hearted capitalist but if a bar is good enough then it will survive, and thrive.
As soon as I set foot in The Sparrow I knew it would work, that the concept of a relaxed beer cafe was a good one - the much needed antithesis to some of Bradford's solid but somewhat baudy boozers. Then you look at the quality of the beer on offer, and the prices, and suddenly you're filled with a sense that this place is going to last. It's going to be brilliant.
That's how I felt after leaving the preview event a year ago, and thankfully in the year since then The Sparrow have done nothing but go from strength to strength; won Bradford Camra pub of the year, been named in The Guardian's Top Ten UK Craft Beer Bars and continued to bring exciting, modern, high quality beers to the people of Bradford - for a price that makes this Leeds dweller more than a little jealous.
Quite rightly, the guys from The Sparrow want to celebrate their first birthday in style and are inviting people to join them in trying some beers brewed especially for them, an American IPA and Black IPA, along with some very special beers from around the World. So if you've got a spare day or evening, hell, a spare hour, I'd suggest getting down to The Sparrow at some point between the 16th - 20th May, because what they've got lined up looks like it shouldn't be missed.
There's plenty more tricks up their sleeves I'm sure, but for now, here's how things are shaping up, and what the guys have to say about the party:
"We have some treats lined up for you for our birthday party, Les and Mark have brewed two special celebration beers in collaboration with Saltaire brewery. Both beers are heavily dry hopped IPAs. Two new keg lines will be launched to coincide with our celebrations and they will be pouring some pretty special beers. The fridges with be filled with some big, rare, party bottles for your enjoyment."
Beers lined up so far:
Our two birthday beers that we brewed with Saltaire Brewery - Dunnock American IPA & Black Throat Black IPA (they are both named after types of Sparrows). Plus beers from some of our favourites including Quantum, Red Willow, Buxton, Kirkstall, Magic Rock, Ilkley and Hawkshead!
Boon Kriek, Sierra Nevada Ruthless, Nogne O Two Captains plus more!
Dogfish Head Red and White (extremely rare), Flying Dog Wildeman (the best beer Mark tasted in New York) and Schneider Nelson Sauvin (one of our favourites)!
You can find out more info on their Facebook page here: facebook.com/thesparrowbradford
The Sparrow Bier cafe
The Sparrow: Surviving and thriving, one year on
The Sparrow Bier cafe
The Sparrow: Surviving and thriving, one year on Reviewed by Neil, Eating isn't Cheating on Friday, May 11, 2012 Rating: 5