Wednesday, 5 August 2015

An overwhelming whiff of déjà vu!

I reviewed a pub recently, that I felt, had an overwhelming whiff of déjà vu. A watering hole that in recent times, had fallen into a run down, tired and shabby looking establishment, under the previous owners, Punch Taverns.

"Former owners were Punch Taverns!" I cynically hear you say. Well, knock me down with a firkin feather!

The pub was in Barnoldswick, on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border, and was known as 'The Barlick'. It eventually, and predictably, called last orders in 2011. And as one regular said: "It had looked a reet proper eyesore on t'high street, f'many months."

Thankfully, in 2012 - and about nine months later. The boozer on the border , re-opened as a free-of-tie hostelry, by its new proprietor, Carol Boothman.

Under its new name, the Fountain Inn( a fountain used to be close by). The historic pub looked resplendent , as I approached it. Boasting a superb display of flowery hanging baskets, tubs and window planter boxes.

There was quite a quirky feel about its interior. With its mixture of stone flagged, mosaic tiled and wooden floors. Being complimented with a contemporary,cream coloured, L-shaped bar, modern artwork and a warm,chapel green decor.

It had a spacious bar and lounge area. Comfy armchairs, along with a plentiful array of dark oak furnishings. The dining room, adjacent to the bar was a nice, private area. A touch swanky, in my opinion. Boasting hide upholstered chairs, scrubbed topped tables, ornate lighting and elegant looking window blinds. 

Oh, and I mustn't forget to mention the squeaky floorboard in the dining area, that me titter - a fine feature! Hope they don't repair it.

However, the main reason, as always for my visit, was the ale. There was a good selection of five cask beers. Although, at three quid a pint, a little excessive for a free house auberge, in this area - honest!

I plumped initially for a favourite, Bowland Hen Harrier. Still a cracking beer. However, since the move to their new brewery in April. I felt it had lost some of its malty clout. 

Keighley brewer, Goose Eye was next up. Their Bitter was in refreshingly good nick. The third tipple was another Yorkshire brewer. Dark Horse Brewery, Hetton Pale Ale, is a permanent fixture on the bar. A crisp, clean, citrusy refresher. With a moderate bitter hopped finish.

Ey-up! It was a tasty triumvirate to tingle the taste buds! And all in exceptional condition.

The beers were being served up by Manager Lynne, and staff member Rebecca. An affable and helpful pairing. With a good sense of humour. A necessity one felt, in this pub, with all the friendly banter and latest local gossip, being discussed by a gaggle of witty regulars at the bar.

The Fountain Inn, in a short period of time, has undoubtably become one of the areas premier drinking and eating establishments.Owner, Carole Boothman has done a truly remarkable job in transforming this boozer, into a gem of a beery destination (Punch Taverns please take note).

Carole, I doff my flat cap to you. You are indeed an inspiration and a credit to the local community - and beyond.