On a cold, wet and windy bank holiday weekend we headed out of the city with the intention of going for a walk up a hill then having a few pints in a pub at the end which is how we ended up at Mossley train station in the pouring rain. As a result of the horrendous weather, we decided against our planned five mile walk and took a wander down the tow path along the side of the Huddersfield Canal and River Tame to Stalybridge with the intention of maybe catching a train back up to Mossley to visit one of the number of ale houses it had.
But this plan was thwarted when we arrived at Stalybridge Buffet Bar about an hour or so later.
There’s nothing I like more than a drinking establishment that offers character, a wide selection of ales and something a little bit different so it ticked all three boxes for me.
We walked in and were greeted by a well stocked bar, three separate rooms (alongside the main bar) and an abundance of historic rail paraphernalia.
Ten cask ales and ciders were on offer, alongside three choices from Outstanding on draught (Stout, IPA and Pilsner), Fruli and another Belgian option so we decided to go for halves on everything so we could sample as many as we could.
I started with the Outstanding IPA and over the course of the afternoon I followed it with a far too easy to drink strawberry cider, Strawberry Lane by Sandford Orchards, Outstanding’s Pilsner (which I didn’t think I’d had before but Untappd told me otherwise), the super-hoppy XP by the Hop Studio, Wakutu by Acorn Brewery and finally a bottle of Schneidder Weiss Original (Tap 7).
Meanwhile, Ross had the Orange Wheat Beer by Abbeydale Brewery, Dry Stone Stout by Hawkshead Brewery (whiched he enjoyed so much he had twice), Millstone Brewery’s Vale Mill, All Black by AllGates and a Fruli,
During the afternoon we also had some snacks – broccoli soup and a bread roll for me while Ross went for a bacon sandwich. The other option on the menu was a sausage casserole which looked amazing. Food seems to run out quite quickly so best to arrive earlier than later if you’re planning on eating.
The atmosphere of the bar is very varied – one moment it’s really packed and the next there is a mass exodus as a train pulls up. It has a real mix of customers from all ages and if you’re in to people watching, it’s a great location for it as there is so much change and movement. But it never seems too chaotic which is probably because of the size of it – as well as the main bar which has about three or four tables, there’s a large back room and a smaller room in the middle which features the toilets as well as a conservatory. There’s also an outside area behind the bar – no drinking allowed on the platform!
In most places, drinking in a train station would never occur to me but Stalybridge Buffet Bar is somewhere that it is worth making the effort to get to – and with frequent trains from Manchester there’s no real reason not to head down.