You make not think that Preston is massively endowed in the coolness quotient, but that hasn't stopped the Council. Presently, they're engaged in an ongoing project to turn Lancaster Road (which it mostly owns) into hipster central.
They've given over the Guild Hall lease to a private developer who has turfed out most of the existing leaseholders to put in trendy bars, and given one of their buildings to Ham & Jam, the premier white-walled and low seated place to be seen in town. Walking down the street, the feeling is of a 'work in progress'. No doubt the sex shop and the Golden Cross (the roughest of rough pubs) will be the next to go.
The most recent addition to Lancaster Road is The Guild Ale House, Preston's entry in the micropub stakes. I went in last week and found it fairly typical of micropubs, except for the Beavertown Gamma Ray on Keg. "Local" beers, thick carpet, and lots of middle-aged men talking about the Real Ales.
The thing about micropubs is that they're a reaction against the clichéd "Craft Bar" ethos. Soft, rather than hard furnishings. Local Real Ales instead of Craft Keg from who knows where. Grey haired, comfortably dressed men instead of self-aware and posing youngsters. Intimacy instead of echoey spaces. What will happen when it's targeted clientele get too old to go out and drink is another question entirely.
Personally, micropubs do little for me. I find them like drinking in a Panopticon. Everyone can see and hear everything you do. They don't provide even the modicum of privacy that a regular pub or even a Wetherspoons can give you.
I'm sure it'll do well. I saw the local CAMRA Branch Treasurer in the GAH a week before opening, presumably negotiating the discount. So they'll be plenty of Real Ale Beardy Types in there. But as it's not open on my days off I'm unlikely to find out.