Saturday 1st April 2017
How can you walk on past a pub that is named Drink? That sign is asking you a direct question and you must make a decision and in my case it was yes! It’s an excellent little pub that reflects a growing trend, the take-away bottle shop combined with a small bar serving draught beer for consumption on the premises. Naturally, it is also possible to sample a bottled beer in the pub before making a choice on whether you want to take it home.
The inspiration for the pub (probably more accurately described as a bar) comes from Martin Ogley and he opened it on 30th October 2014. At first it was more of a bottle shop but that was to change after the notorious floods on Boxing Day 2015 when storm Eva visited Hebden Bridge. It didn’t re-open until Easter 2016 and during the clean-up operations the opportunity was taken to extend into the rear room, where the bar counter is located these days.
Martin came to the pub via Bridestone’s Brewery, its owners. Before that he worked for Tetley’s Brewery before moving on to a pub-owning company. So, there is no doubt that he knew what he was getting into. The premises was previously a store selling stoves.
Inside the pub is functional yet comfortable. After I collected my pint from the bar at the back. I returned to the front room. A most unusual feature here is the huge illustration on the left wall of an escalator on the London Underground. It is said to have be taken at Maida Vale station so, in real life I have used it many times.
Here there are stairs leading up to the first floor where there is a lounge. I don’t know why, but I didn’t climb them to have a look.
Either side of entrance to the bar room are wooden shelves laden with bottles and cans from small breweries, far and wide. This display continues along the right wall to about half way. The remainder of that wall on to the front window is occupied with a notice board displaying posters advertising local events and other matters. In the centre of this room is a high wooden table with tall stools; this is where I settled.
In the bar room at the rear I noticed that facing the counter was a small but comfortable-looking corner unit covered with multi-coloured cushions. In the right side wall is a brick fireplace containing a wood-burning stove. The bar counter itself is made of wood and chipboard.
In both rooms there are stools fashioned out of key-kegs. These are non-returnable and now each sports a colourful seat on top. Some will say this is a better use than the original purpose.
As is normal, there were two cask beers offered when I visited. They were Brew York (York) X-Panda (4.5%) and Cloudwater (Manchester) Autumn-Winter Ale (3.9%). There were five keg beer taps featuring beers of similar strength that were 80p to £1.00 more expensive than the cask choice. They also have two still ciders. One of these was Lilley’s (Frome, Somerset) Merry Monkey (4.5%). The other was a fruit-flavoured one but I regret I didn’t get the name.
Food is not available although they have all the usual bar snacks in packets. One unique feature is that this pub / shop is also a fitting room for a gentleman’s trouser manufacturer called HebTroCo, who are based in the town.
The owner looks favourably on canine visitors, especially if they have bought their owners along to drink some beer. This little pub should not be missed if you are visiting Hebden Bridge.
Drink?, 15 Market Street, Hebden Bridge HX7 6EU. Tel: 07921 211870. Tel: 01422 844366
Hours: Monday Closed; Tuesday-Saturday 11.00-21.00; Sunday 11.00-17.00
Hebden Bridge station is well served by trains operated by Northern Rail. They go westwards to Rochdale and Manchester, also to Blackburn and Preston. Eastwards they go to Halifax, Bradford and Leeds.
From the station, cross to the station approach. Go over the canal and river bridge and turn right.
This is New Road. Walk through the town centre and you will come across another river bridge.
Alongside this is the Old Gate pub. The road is now Market Street.
You will find Drink? a few shops along on the right.
There are town buses that are often waiting outside the station to save you this walk.
Otherwise the main bus routes are the 590 and 592 from Halifax to Rochdale and Burnley respectively.
On the section through Hebden Bridge to Todmorden they often provide a bus every 10 minutes.
There is also the Route 500 Brontëbus over the moors to Haworth and Keighley, mostly every hour.