AGAIN Skipton has recently been hailed as one of the best places in the country to live. And this is in no small measure down to its superb selection of pubs, bars, restaurants and eateries.

Drinkers are particularly well catered for in the Gateway to the Dales, with an eclectic variety of lively pubs and bars offering an array of real ales and all sorts of wines and lagers to tempt the discerning palate.

And now, looking to add a little something extra to the town mix is Early Doors, on Newmarket Street, a new 'micro pub' concentrating on providing a rotating roster of real ales, along with bottled continental lagers and wines.

Importantly, though, say proprietors and business partners Don Hinchcliffe and Mike Dunford, the drink's the thing, with the selection of ales changing daily - customers will find no games machines, no television and, apart from the usual pub snacks like crisps and nuts, no food.

Says Don: "The aim is to provide a pleasant atmosphere with good conversation and a fine selection of excellent ales, lagers and wines. We've only been open a few weeks but already it seems there are a lot of people who want just that."

Don and Mike are veterans of the trade, each with over a quarter of a century's experience as licensees in hostelries in the north, so it's only to be expected that they know a good pub market when they see it.

And Skipton is a prime location, they say.

Don explains: "Although we've both kept pubs in various places, me mostly in Rochdale and Mike in Cumbria, we have long wanted to be in Skipton. Obviously there is a strong tourist trade but there is also a vibrant local community which helps to maintain a fine selection of places to eat and drink. We are confident we are providing something a little different in the town."

The Early Doors focus, naturally enough, is on quality real ales and there are six hand-pumps, usually featuring two blonde, two dark and two copper-coloured beers on rotation.

Blonde Witch, by Burnley's Moorhouse's Brewery, is the nearest to a 'permanently stocked' beer and on the Herald's recent visit featured were ales from Reedley Hallows, Worsthorne, Naylor's and Wishbone breweries.

The pub trade is notoriously competitive but, interestingly, Don and Mike don't see their establishment in direct competition with anyone else. The clue is in the name - Early Doors is open from noon to 8pm Tuesday to Saturday and noon to 5pm on Sunday.

Says Don: "We have had a warm welcome from other licensees in the town, especially Steve Banks at The Beer Engine, who has been extremely helpful. If Skipton provides a great environment for drinkers - and it does - then ultimately we all benefit."

Cheers to that!