Inn keeping with changing needs

A SWIFT drink down the local has taken on a new twist – at what is thought to be the country’s first Islamic ‘pub’.

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.”

building, formerly the Westwood Inn, also includes a restaurant serving
daily specials, a prayer room, study room, business lounge and steam

The drinking hole with a difference opened its doors in December and has been growing in popularity.

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.

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

“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.”

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.