An Oldham boozer could be named the best pub in the country

The Fox & Pine has been crowned the best pub in Greater Manchester by CAMRA

By Ben Arnold | 9 August 2023

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(Credit: The Fox & Pine)

An unassuming local pub in Oldham has been named the best in Greater Manchester, and is now in the running to be crowned the very best in the UK.

The Fox & Pine, on Greaves Street, became one of the UK’s 16 regional finalists of this year’s Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Pub of the Year awards, announced at the Great British Beer Festival in London.

This means that it’ll be up for the coveted title of CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year, which will be announced later this year.

Run by veteran landlords Chris and Michelle Riley, the pair are no strangers to accolades, having been named CAMRA’s Rochdale, Oldham and Bury Branch Pub of the Year in 2022.

The couple have been running the pub, which prides itself on its wide range of real ales, since 2020, and they have a sister pub too, the Cob and Coal at Oldham’s famous Tommyfield Market Hall.

Described as a ‘tardis’ because of its warren of rooms inside, the pub holds regular music nights, including a Sunday night open mic, as well as hosting sports clubs and even its own music festival, Fox Fest.

A former grocers shop dating back to the 1800s, it was converted from an empty office building, with a small pavement beer garden to the side.

Regulars have flooded the pub’s Facebook page with congratulations, one saying: “Absolutely fantastic, well deserved, perfect in every way, well done, you should be super proud.”

John Duffin, Rochdale, Oldham and Bury CAMRA’s Branch Secretary, told the Oldham Chronicle: “I’m delighted for Chris, Michelle and the team on their victory in what is usually an extremely close vote. Winning the ROB Pub of the Year is difficult enough.

“Personally I have participated in local and regional judging for several years and know the competition they are up against.  

“It is testament to Chris and Michelle’s hard work and experience to be judged the best pub in Greater Manchester.”

Last year, the Real Crafty in Wigan was named the Greater Manchester regional winner, commended for its ‘beer atlas’, offering a range of beers from around the world, as well as its quiz night, meet the brewer events and tap takeovers.

But it was beaten to the National Pub of the Year, which went to the Tamworth Tap in Tamworth, Staffordshire.