Pub/Bar of the Month September 2016: The Steamhouse, Urmston, UK
The Steamhouse, Urmston, UK
I do like the new breed of station pubs. The idea of renovating old station premises and turning them into bustling bars is a winner on so many levels.
Derelict platform buildings are brought back to life, drinkers have a choice of real refreshment instead of an over-priced sandwich and plastic cup of coffee and the country gains a new pub with character.
All these thoughts were running through my head as I enjoyed a couple of pints at The Steamhouse in Urmston.
The suburbs of Manchester are littered with fine (many award-winning) pubs but the Steamhouse, housed in a railway building dating from 1872, is a worthy addition to the list.
Converted to a pub in 2008, it occupies most of the westbound platform at Urmston station, stretching across four rooms in linear fashion. But what the pub lacks in width, it makes up for in height, with the ceiling opened up to the rafters to give an airy feel.
Each room is quite separate and well defined. At one end is a carpeted family area, complete with playthings – and playthings of a different sort appear on some evenings when poker takes over – then comes the bare-boarded main bar marked off from the further two rooms by a fireplace graced by a large clock.
Not a Cliché
The refurbishment has been nicely handled to allow the railway to feature in the theme – some etched glass with a locomotive motif, a few old cases and trunks on a high shelf, etc. – but without turning the concept into a cliché.
If you really want more trains, just take a seat on the tables on the platform and watch the diesels come and go on their way to Liverpool or Warrington.
The brick-built bar itself is overlooked by a strange little balcony and serves a splendid selection of ales and lagers.
Eight handpumps deliver beers from breweries big and small, so you may find anything from Marston’s Pedigree and Black Sheep Best Bitter to the latest one-off from a local micro.
The pub also has its own brewery, RTwoDtoo, but this had been temporarily suspended at the time of my visit.
I was particularly attracted by the end of the counter that has been designated the ‘German Quarter’ and pleased to find beers from Riegele, Kaltenberg and Weihenstephan, among others, on draught. There are plenty of bottled beers, too.
With an interesting-looking food menu that has a distinct Mediterranean accent, The Steamhouse is certainly worth breaking a journey for.
The Steamhouse, Urmston Station, Manchester M41 9SB.
Tel. (0161) 748 6487
Opening Hours: 12–11; 12–12.30 am Friday & Saturday