Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar Wins Manchester Food and Drink Pub of the Year

Excellent news for reinvigorated buffet bar

Stalybridge Station, Yorkshire platform
Also a great place to dine as well as enjoy real ales and ciders: the Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar.

For several years, Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar has been a veritable mecca for real ale fanatics. From today, it can add another feather to its cap.

Manchester Food and Drink Pub of the Year for 2013.

In a packed ceremony at Manchester Town Hall, Samantha Smith and Caroline Barnes picked up the award for the reinvigorated public house on platform four of Stalybridge railway station. As well as maintaining its reputation for real ale and cider, they have improved the menu, offering a range of exquisite yet traditionally Northern fare, locally sourced.

Ms. Smith took on the Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar over a year ago and won new friends among locals and visitors. They also own The Sportsman in Huddersfield, the West Riding Refreshment Rooms on Dewsbury railway station and The Cricketers Arms in Horbury. Under their tutelage, it has gone from strength to strength.

Congratulations are in order for Samantha, Caroline and the rest of the team in their success. If you’ve never been to Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar recently, you don’t know what you’re missing. As well as its fantastic food (they still do the famous Black Peas as well), the atmosphere and well kept beer is unmissable.

S.V., 07 October 2013.


9 thoughts on “Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar Wins Manchester Food and Drink Pub of the Year

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    1. Hi Malcolm,

      Well deserved, cannot fault the food there. I used to like it under John Hesketh and Sylvia Wood and they always did the best breakfasts in Stalybridge. It has amazed me how Samantha Smith and Company have raised the bar even further with food every bit as good as pricier City Centre establishments, let alone the rest of Tameside.

      Bye for now,



  1. I’m on the way over. Will give it the once over on Friday night.
    The beer prices have sustantially increased ubder the new owners.


    1. Hi Buspilot,

      I don’t blame you for calling in this Friday. If you’re a CAMRA member, you can now get a 10% reduction on all ales sold in Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar. No matter what time of day; just show your valid CAMRA membership card. Well worth doing if you’re ordering a strong ale like Thornbridge’s Jaipur (5.6%).

      Bye for now,



    1. Hi Tina,

      Most definitely, not only for rail enthusiasts but also Stalybridge as a whole. I thought at the time of Ms Smith’s takeover that there would have been a few things which needed improving. Instead, what Ms. Smith and Company did surpassed my expectations.

      In more recent times, I saw for myself how relaxing one of their sister pubs, The Sportsman in Huddersfield was. The relaxing air from the 1930s public house was restored to Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar – especially on an easy Sunday afternoon with the real fire on, enjoying one of their breakfasts.

      Then, more recently, during a celebration evening with my local CAMRA branch, enjoyed their food even more. The Pork Pies were superb. The buffet, which I stuffed myself on was a real joy.

      I could murder one of their pork pies right now, with a pint of Thornbridge’s Jaipur, or anything by Stalybridge’s finest, Tickety Brew.

      Bye for now,



      1. Having called in last Friday, I was most disappointed with what is now offered beer wise.

        It is said by many people that a pub without a Guinness pump is not a real pub. Unfortunately the Buffet Bar now falls into this category.

        Gone is the Guinness pump,as are the pumps for Becks, Stella and the other draft lagers. What has replaced them is some offerings from Outstanding Beers of Bury, in the form of an “Outstanding Stout” pump and an “Outstanding Pilsner” pump and a tap marked “Outstanding White”, what ever that may be,plus a pump for Crystal Lager. These are far from being adequate replacements for what has been removed. Additionally, the chiller cabinets are devoid of bottled lagers, giving the impression that unless you drink real ale or cider, then the Buffet Bar is not for you. It appears to be clear that lager and Guinness drinkers should go elsewhere to drink, as the new management don’t want them at any time.

        The award from Tameside Council is in my opinion not worthy of having been bestowed on the Buffet Bar and should be revoked.


  2. Hi Buspilot,

    I am sorry to find you were most disappointed with the choice of draught lager and the lack of a Guinness pump. More than anything, as to why Stella Artois or Guinness is lacking, I think it is more to do with stopping the Rail Ale Trail from being spoiled by people who would prefer not to sample the real ales, as per the original premise.

    Though I have yet to try Crystal, it has won awards and is said by some critics to compare well with the best known lagers. Similarly, I am unable to pass comment on the Outstanding Stout. I have tried the Outstanding lager myself and consider it a rather good replacement to Stella. Likewise with Buxton Brewery’s Moravka which I have tried at the Cornerhouse (and this fine establishment too has eschewed Stella, though retained their Guinness pump).

    Besides, I would say the inclusion of Outstanding’s products, plus other real ales mainly in a 20 mile radius of Stalybridge, is also about the Buffet Bar supporting more local businesses.

    As for the award, Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar won their title by means of public voting. The award and the festival itself [the Manchester Food and Drink Festival] is independent of all the ten Metropolitan Borough Councils which make up the Greater Manchester conurbation. It is the brainchild of two people, Chris Tomlinson and Phil Jones back in 1998 and one which has attracted the top chefs to Manchester.

    Bye for now,



    1. …forgot to mention….the prices have gone up again!

      The lager ban was meant to be on Saturday between noon and 8pm and not an inviation to “sling yer hook”, every day of the week!

      Tried a Jumping Jack Pilsner whilst over….not impressed by these attempts to produce a “real ale” style lager.

      So I went back to the Ash Tree for a pint or three of Tuborg.

      Back home in the land of Cruzcampo, Victoria, Zerep, Alhambra, Ambar and Mahou tonight.


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