A NEW cosy venue in the county town of Dorchester has opened to give customers a finer taste of local ales.

More and more now we hear of people escaping the city to move to the country for a taste of rural life.

And why not – with fresher air, better ales on tap and more time to sip your pint. But what if you're moving to start a micropub?

That's exactly what Nigel and Nicky Baker have done. Moving to Winterborne Stickland from London, last week the couple opened up the doors to Dorchester's first micropub in Trinity Street.

Nigel said: "Nicky and I have worked in marketing agencies and have spent time the 'right' side of the bar, but the move to Dorset is an escape to the country and a change of lifestyle – moving to the 'wrong' side of the bar.

"Dorset won us over with its ruralness and we have settled in a lovely village in a thatched cottage."

But it's not the first time the new landlord has dabbled in the brewery business.

He said: "My passion for real ale brewed by British brewers led me to start a mail order business selling this kind of bottled ale after my marketing days.

"As well as real ale I am fanatical about pubs as part of fabric of British culture. Along with a love of British brewed ales we are always supportive of small food and drink producers, and Dorset has a wealth of them."

Making the move, Nigel and Nicky decided the venture of a micropub suited them best. It lacks the risk of running a traditional pub in the current climate and is a more intimate venue.

Nigel said: "It's the cosy simplicity that appeals to us with a focus on serving real ales from the cask. Traditional pubs are struggling but the micro concept is potentially a more viable option – a friendly ale cafe.

"The fantastic breadth of ale available these days means there's one for every occasion - seasonal, food matched, party time, sipping by a log fire. Having said that I do thoroughly enjoy a true IPA."

Nigel said the vision for the micropub is to create 'the most convivial little place in Dorchester'.

He said: "We would love to put this micropub on the Dorchester/Dorset map as a 'go to' pub for the welcoming, sociable ambience with a great range of drinks, especially ales.

"In the great traditions of pub hospitality we will be offering simple tasty snacks, locally produced, if possible. Just the sort of food to complement the drinks in the relaxed, informal social environment.

"Our aim has been to create a shabby chic room which has a comfortable feel."

Nigel said he and Nicky have been inspired by Japanese wabi-sabi - 'the beauty of imperfection' for decorating the venue.

He said: "We are pleased have an art exhibition by local artist Jindra Jehu where the art decorates the space, provides a talking point and it's all for sale."

If you're wondering what the name of the pub is, you'd be right to. There isn't one yet.

Nigel said: "The biggest challenge for us now is to settle on the name which might come down to the favourite three being put to a customer vote...watch this space."

Dorchester Micropub now open Wednesday to Sundays from 12pm to 10pm.