A PAIR of friends are celebrating during one of their most difficult periods for business after plans were approved for a second branch of their bar and brewery.

Pals James Martin and Craig Egan, owners of the Nook & Cranny, in Darwen Road, Bromley Cross, submitted plans to open a new bar in early April, which were approved on Thursday.

The new bar will replace an old RBS bank branch in Gate Fold, Harwood, between a supermarket and the library.

Their new bar will be very similar to the Nook & Cranny, serving local and international hand-pulled craft beers on tap, with a selection of bottles that can be taken away.

There will also be a brewing area, with its produce available to buy from the bar.

Despite it being a very tough time for the industry, James and Craig have been keeping afloat by keeping the Nook & Cranny open as a takeaway.

Craig added the prospects of opening a new bar kept the pair uplifted during a difficult time.

He said: “It’s fantastic news that we’ve got this approved.

“Takeaways have managed to keep us open with the local community giving us a helping hand.

“We’ve got a lot of positive feedback which shows there are people in Bromley Cross who want to keep us going.”

He added that it had been a particularly tough time for independent craft breweries who have had to stay open to stay alive during lockdown.

He said: “If you don’t try and keep open then you will lose the small ones, the big chain pubs can still cope.”

Chris and James plan to get work started on opening the new bar fully by Christmas if they are allowed to.

Chris said they wanted to bring a pub “for the community” to Harwood where people can socialise and try new beers in a nice environment.

“We want to continue supporting the local breweries and provide a place where people can enjoy themselves in the community.”