PUB lovers and real-ale enthusiasts welcomed Oldham’s newest bar with a cold one yesterday after the transformation of a former unused office building in the town centre was finally completed.
‘The Fox and Pine Tap’, located on the corner of Greaves Street, welcomed its first customers at the new two-storey speciality beer bar with a broad selection of real ales, ciders, speciality craft beers and a state-of-the-art gin mixer tap.
Award-winning owners Chris and Michelle Riley oversaw the renovations of the building, which has been named after Michelle’s Leicester City birthplace (Fox) and Oldham Athletics’ original team name (Pine – Pine Villa) over the summer.
Michelle, who also runs the hugely successful Cob and Coal micro bar in Tommyfield Market, is thrilled to finally open.
“Our plans have really come together over the last few months and the decorations have given it that finishing touch so we’re really excited to have opened our doors at last,” Michelle said.
“Oldham already has some really great places to eat and drink here and we wanted to be a part of that.
“We started off with Cob and Coal last year and that has gone done phenomenally well with customers, showcasing the appetite Oldham has for this kind of bar.”
Cob and Coal, which opened in August 2019, was recently crowned Cider Pub of the Year by the Rochdale, Oldham and Bury branch of CAMRA, and Michelle hopes to have similar success with her new business.
“We want to expand and provide even more options for those who are heading into town for a bit of fun and a laugh,” Michelle added.
“We want people to think of Oldham for their night out and with the tram stop just a few minutes away, there’s really no excuse not to pop off and head up for a few drinks.
“Things are a bit different at the minute and we’ve worked hard to ensure we’re Covid-secure so we can welcome customers safely and now we’re just enjoying helping people to experience a little bit of normality in these strange times.”
Part of their plans to be Covid-secure involve an intercom service which will allow customers to ‘buzz’ the bar when they wish to place a table service order. What makes this more unique is that it will allow customers to interact with other tables via the same system.
“In normal times, customers could interact with those they met in the pub and have a quick catch-up with people they bumped into,” Chris said.
“But people are now confined to their own tables because of the way things are at the minute, so we’ve come up with a unique idea which will enable them to socialise safely without having to move at all.
“We want things to be as normal as they can be for anyone who visits us, so by enabling them to buzz other tables and have a chat across tables via an intercom system, we think it’s a really great idea and we haven’t seen anywhere else offering this kind of measure to keep customer safe.”
The Fox and Pine Tap also offers a selection of delicious food platters to accompany its wide array of speciality beers. The menu includes a variety of Mediterranean, cheese and Ploughman boards along with a ‘Duck-a-Muffin’ which comes with mushy peas and gravy.
The Greaves Street area has been the focus of a lot of regeneration from Oldham Council over the last few years. Other recent additions include dessert and café bar Bittersweet, which opened up at the Old Town Hall in late August.
With plans submitted for an exciting independent-style food market in the historic Egyptian Rooms next door, there’s plenty to rave about in the town centre.
Leader of Oldham Council, Councillor Sean Fielding, said: “The Fox and Pine Tap is a fantastic new addition to Oldham’s night-time economy, and I can’t wait to pop in for a beer to celebrate its opening.
“The hospitality industry has been hit hard by coronavirus so please show your support to local businesses like this one.
“Chris and Michelle have really invested into the vision we’re building here in the town centre and I have no doubts that they will have as much as success with the Fox and Pine Tap as they have already enjoyed at Cob and Coal – this a truly fantastic new addition for residents.
“We want our town centre to be the first-place residents think of when they want to spend some time out with their friends and family after shopping hours.
“With our exciting plans for the Old Town Hall’s Egyptian Rooms and a new Indian restaurant coming soon in the former Greaves Arms Pub too, there’s a lot to be excited about in Oldham.”