Food and Drink : The Holcombe Tap – Set to take Ramsbottom by storm.

In my hometown of Ramsbottom, you won’t find a Wetherspoons nor a Greggs – they pride themselves on that. The independent high street in the town is actually what keeps the people coming to it. The centre is dotted with tearooms, pie shops and everything else you’d expect from a sleepy countryside town.

There’s also happens to be an abundance of pubs. So much so that Ramsbottom actually has its own ‘Rammy Mile’ – with over ten pubs on the strip – equating to a pub every 264 yards…So you don’t have to travel far for your next tipple. The town has been modernised in recent times by new restaurants and bars joining the scene – bringing a whole new experience to the town. Eateries such as Baratxuri and Levanter have had great success over the last few years being voted some of the best places to eat in Greater Manchester.

Joining both the Rammy Mile and these new eateries is The Holcombe Tap. A lot of buzz has been surrounding this new establishment since it was first announced back in June. One reason for this is because in recent years previous tenants were not able to revive the former pub – The Masons Arms – to its former glory. Dark and dingy rooms with a hint of weed in the air was the constant setting for the people who frequented it.

The other reason is that Ramsbottom was long overdue a new competitor on the bar scene. So, when I was invited to a menu and wine tasting by the father and son owner/managers Bill and Will Gallie, I just couldn’t say no.

Walking into the establishment I could see that the place had been transformed from what it once was. Wood burning fires, a glistening bar and a brand new kitchen had all been installed as well as the renovated beer garden that had been fully furnished with specially made tables and chairs and finished with a draping of fairy lights. The use of wood throughout the bar’s decor keeps it classy whilst also providing the modern taste. It’s fair to say that the place looks outstanding.

Holcombe Tap offers small plates and sides to accompany a wide range of drinks. Prices range from £5.25 to £8.50 for the main small plates with sides ranging from £1.55 to £4.50. There are fifteen plates to offer on their ‘small plates’ menu including crowd-pleasers such as hot & spicy buffalo wings with a blue cheese dip (£5.75), garlic & chilli prawns (£7.95) and roasted sticky chorizo with honey & balsamic (£5.95). They also offer goats cheese spring rolls (£7.25), caprese salad with a pesto dressing (£5.75) and baked chestnut mushrooms with blue cheese & garlic (£5.75) for anyone looking for vegetarian options.

For vegans, they offer maple & chilli cauliflower florets (£5.50) which are sublime and are one of the tastiest things on the menu. The houmous with crudités and pitta (£5.25) is also suitable for vegans and tastes great.

Other dishes include beer battered fish goujons (£5.95), Persian lamb croquettes (£7.45) and duck breast (£7.95). My personal favourites were the Thai salmon fish cakes with wasabi mayo (£6.95) and the ‘Holcombe Tap Scotch egg’ featuring Bury black pudding and a quail’s egg (£6.95).

Nibbles and sides include mixed olives, bread with balsamic and olive oil, salt & pepper fries and garlic ciabatta.

They also hold a great selection of wines. House white starts at £4.20 a glass and is £14.95 for the bottle, mid-range costs £15.75 per bottle and the good stuff (Chablis William Fevre) is £22.55. The red wine list follows a similar pattern with their mid-range (Running Duck Shiraz) costing £16.25 and the premium (Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso) coming in at £24.95. They also supply a good choice of rosé, sparkling wines and champagnes.

Their draught beers range from £3.10 to £4.55 with Birra Moretti, Estrella Damm and Pravha all on offer as well as cask ales, Guinness and Strongbow Cloudy Apple. Bottles and cans include Peroni, Blue Moon, Corona, 13 Guns, Hop House, Bulmers and Old Mout cider. House spirits start from £3.10 with more premium spirits ranging to around £4.10

Holcombe Tap also offer 23 gins and divide their menu into three different categories: Floral & Aromatic, Citrus & Fruity, Spicy & Savoury. Each gin is paired with its own Fever-Tree mixer to ensure that lovers of the spirit always have the best experience possible when sipping on their gin and juice.

A cocktail menu is also available with drinks ranging between £6.95 and £7.95 and including favourites such as Aperol Spritz, Porn Star Martini and the Dark ‘N’ Stormy.

All in all, Holcombe Tap has done a great job at renovating what was once a depressing drinking hole into a fashionable bar where you can actually enjoy your drinking habits. You’ve got to respect the clear hard work that has gone into the place. It’s definitely one to check out if you’re local.

The Holcombe Tap can be found at 13 Bolton Road West, Ramsbottom, Bury, BL0 9NA. Open daily 12pm-11pm (12am Friday & Saturday). Phone – 01706 82 1184. Online – https://www.facebook.com/theholcombetap/