A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: Not listedStalybridge Railway Station, Platform 4, Rassbottom St
Tel: (0161) 303 0007
Real Ale: Yes
Real Cider: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Evening Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: Stalybridge
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Stalybridge) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
Housed in platform buildings on platform 4 that were part of the station’s reconstruction in 1885, this is one of very few licensed buffets on the English rail network to survive pretty much intact from before the Second World War (e.g. the wonderful example at Bridlington, East Yorks). The old core here, the little-altered main Buffet Bar, has its original hearth at one end, a long, panelled bar counter with a marble top and ornate back-fitting units between the outside windows. Until 1996, when the establishment was greatly extended into adjacent sections of the old station buildings (a scheme which won the national CAMRA/English Heritage Pub Refurbishment Award in 1998) it consisted only of the main Buffet Bar plus a conservatory extension. The present conservatory is a modern replica dating from 2008–9.
This is a marvellous institution - one of the last-remaining, truly traditional railway buffet in the country. It was part of the 1885 rebuilding at the station and consists of a conservatory and high ceilinged main part of the buffet within the brick-built station buildings. In the latter there's a long, straight, marble-topped counter with three tall narrow Victorian bar back fittings of shelving on the back wall. has a Victorian stone, tiled and cast-iron fireplace, some original fixed seating on the platform side and lots of railway memorabilia. On the right hand side of the counter is the traditional glass fronted snacks/confectionery display.
To the right is a bare boarded passage leading to two rooms brought into public use as part of the buffet. The first is a narrow room with the toilets on the rear wall and a small bar counter which looks like it was added in 1970s. The extreme right-hand high ceilinged room was originally the first-class ladies' waiting room and has a good cornice and ceiling rose. Lots more railway memorabilia on the walls of the two rooms.
The Redfern family ran the place for well over 20 years. When the last owners took over they undertook a restoration which won the CAMRA/English Heritage refurbishment award in 1998. There is always a seriously interesting range of real ales on offer. Also, you can buy a North West dish called 'black peas' - made from the black pea, an older variety of the plain pea. Long soaked overnight and then boiled, they are traditionally eaten from a cup with salt and vinegar.
In the 70s the local Environmental Health Department demanded that the marble bar top and many other traditional features should be torn out and replaced with Formica. After quite a struggle with much attendant publicity the owners won the right to keep the existing (and perfectly hygienic) fittings as they are