Halal 'pub' keeps with changing times
A SWIFT drink down the local has taken on a new twist – at what is thought to be the country’s first Islamic ‘pub’. Reminiscent of the 19th century temperance bars, the Halal Inn, on Featherstall Road, is a public house which has most of the trappings of a traditional British hostelry, but is missing what many would think is the key ingredient – alcohol!
Owner Azizur Rahman and business partner Muzahid Khan spotted a gap in the market and came up with the idea to provide an alternative social gathering place for local Muslims. Mr Khan explained: "It’s a gathering place for people who abide by strict Islamic rulings and don’t like going to places where they serve alcohol. "What we’ve done is turn the bar into a soft drink and juice bar, with snooker tables, darts, karam boards and nasheeds (Islamic songs) in the background. "As a non-alcoholic venue it will appeal to Muslims more, but it is essentially for people from all backgrounds."
The building, formerly the Westwood Inn, also includes a restaurant serving daily specials, a prayer room, study room, business lounge and steam room. The drinking hole with a difference opened its doors in December and has been growing in popularity. "Halal Inn is a name which most people find intriguing," said Mr Khan. "There was a lot of conversations in the community about the whole concept and a lot of people were wanting to know more about it. We got a lot of word of mouth publicity and have even had visits from people from Birmingham and London wanting information on recreating the brand.
"It’s an alternative to your normal inn – a pub essentially means a place where people procure alcohol, but that’s what we’re trying to get away from. "Throughout the world there has been a whole movement about the word halal and products that are branded as halal. Muslims are a major consumer group. "Because of all this going on we thought that in Oldham we should have a brand of our own. It was easy to replace the word Westwood with Halal. It makes perfect sense." The venue, which opens from 4.30pm to 11.30pm, will also host a monthly Islamic quiz night and has created a snooker and karam league.