Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Station Buffet Bar, Stalybridge

There was a time when every station had a nice cosy bar where you could get a drink and a sandwich whilst waiting for your train. Sadly these establishments declined after Beeching. Some survived and others were revived, among them the Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar.


We caught the train from Leeds on Saturday lunchtime. In less than an hour we had crossed the Pennines and arrived at Stalybridge station. Finding the bar was easy. We just followed the other thirsty travellers to the eastbound platform and entered the wonderful bar.
My first impression was that they must be running out of beer as the punters were three deep at the bar. We soon realised that a lot of people were going to Stalybridge just to visit the Buffet Bar. Once the crush died down we were able to sample the beers on offer. My first was a pint of Odin blonde which I drank on the platform with my friends.
The beer was delicious and we finally managed to get a seat inside and were able to admire the railway memorabilia which adorns the walls of the bar,
Away from the bar are a couple of dining rooms. We noted that pie and peas were on sale , reasonably priced if you felt peckish. I was still quite thirsty so revisited the bar to select my next pint:
I was spoilt for choice. There were eight interesting beers on the wickets. My second pint was Grain Storm - another lovely pale beer with distinctive  bitterness. I  could have stayed at Stalybridge all day. This bar is an absolute gem and it was no surprise to see dozens of likeminded people disembarking from east and westbound trains just to sample the beers on offer. Sadly we had a train to catch but I hope to go back soon and finish what I started.


The Outgate Inn, Outgate, Cumbria

The Lake District is full of good pubs. In some areas you are falling over them at every turn. The road from Hawkshead to Ambleside has a little belter at Outgate, called, appropriately, the Outgate Inn.
We were out walking from Wray on the banks of Lake Windermere when we came across the Fred Robinson's tied house. I go back along way with Robinsons (although not as far as 1838 when he bought his first pub) so had no hesitation in trying the Dizzy Blonde:
Delightful on a hot day and more subtle and well balanced than many of the latterday blondes that are so popular at the moment. The staff at the Outgate were not a very smiley team but they obviously have a sense of humour as this was posted on the bar!
It was a hot lunchtime so we sat in the garden where there was some shelter and had a very pleasant lunch which was reasonably priced and well presented - just what we wanted! Also room for the kids to run around in safety.
My second pint was named after the pub and was a smooth, understated bitter, again very nice on a hot day.  Robinsons will always have a place in my heart after my student days in Salford. It has been a while but my impression is that Fred's legacy is safe whilst they have pubs like the Outgate in the estate.