Thursday 12 July 2012

The Hop Vine, Burscough

One of the dining areas
(barmaid not included)
Last night we had a CAMRA meeting in the Hop Vine in Burscough. I haven't been here for a few months and it was not disappointing.  The pub is about 200 yards from Burscough Bridge station, which is on the Southport-Wigan-Manchester line, on which you can get return tickets half price in the early evening: my return ticket from Southport cost only £2.10p.

They'd kindly reserved a table of ten for us, but as around 16 turned up, several were standing. The pub is popular with diners, with waitresses dashing in and out of the kitchen at high speed. You can't help noticing that nearly all of the staff are very good looking young women - coincidence? Regardless, all the staff were helpful and friendly.

Despite the food, this is still a pub, not a restaurant with a real ale sideline, demonstrated by the fact that there were seven real ales on, of which I had four. There were three from the on-site brewery (Burscough Brewery Company), which is behind the pub: Hop Vine, Ringtail, and Mere Blonde. I know blond beers are two a penny nowadays (figuratively speaking, unfortunately), but I did like this well-balanced pint. There were two from Northumberland Brewery, Strawberry Blonde and Summer Gold, and one from Prospect, Gold Rush, which I have to say was my favourite, although all the beers I drank were fine.

Just before I left, I was chatting to one of the barmaids who said she enjoyed working there; she had begun as a waitress and after a while transferred to bar work, which she much preferred, as it can be more sociable. I don't suppose there's much chance to chat to customers when you're waiting on tables.

At the meeting, someone said that Mike, who owns the Hop Vine, is planning to open a beer shop in Ormskirk, along the lines of Southport's Inn Beer Shop, mostly with bottled beers and some cask. Lucky Ormskirk!


  1. I've only ever popped in a couple of times, but I've always thought they did a good job of balancing 'restaurant' with 'pub', and the beer has always been good or better.

  2. Clive Pownceby16 July 2012 at 12:29

    I concur fully RedNev. Often go to Northern Soul nights at the Stanley club along the road. Whilst train connections mean we can't ever stay for the entire dance stance, always make a point of calling in Hop Vine first as the Stanley offers lager and Echo Falls red wine, so need a proper beer pre-gig hour or so, to loosen up the limbs and enable that fancy footwork for which I'm noted!
    Such a fantastic change from its basic 'Royal' and ghastly 'Royal Coaching House' days.

  3. The Hop Vine has a fantastic beer garden and the pub is open till late at weekends with live music. Always a good pint and the food is fabulous as well. I just wish it was closer to Liverpool!

  4. The opening night of the Ormskirk beer shop is tomorrow night. Me and a few other Ormskirk-based beer lovers will be there!


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