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Pub/Bar of the Month

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The Vine, Pamphill, UK

The Vine at Pamphill is not a pub you stumble upon by accident.

Vine, PamphillThe road to its door takes you off one of the main highways of Dorset near Wimborne Minster and weaves its way through country lanes, pitching up on the brow of a small hill. It’s not many miles off the beaten track but it takes a bit of finding.

That said, it is well worth the journey, if only to see how much hospitality can be squeezed into such a tiny location.

Once a bakery, The Vine today appears to be no more than a large cottage on two levels, with three public areas.

On one side is a tiny lounge, laid out like a private living room, with a fitted carpet, a gas coal-effect fire and just three tables to accommodate drinkers. A narrow counter provides access to the central bar and across the taps you can peer into the public bar.

Remarkably, this room is even smaller, with space for only one table and a few stools. Part of the problem is the space-hugging staircase that climbs up to the tap room.

After the first two bars, this basic but comfortable area is positively expansive. There’s not only room for a dartboard and another fire, but four tables, too.

Bustling and Friendly

What all this means is that it doesn’t take many people to make the pub bustling and friendly.

Order a pint of one of the two (ever-changing) cask ales, and perhaps a lunchtime toasted sandwich, and you’ll soon be in conversation with others doing the same. You’ll probably end up patting their dog.

But, if you’d rather have a bit more space (and privacy), then take a seat on the neat little terrace and enjoy the splendid views over the verdant Dorset countryside and a little rustic peace and quiet.

The Vine became a pub around the turn of the twentieth century and for much of its life sold only beer and cider. If it appears to be well maintained – and, indeed, defying the economics of running a pub these days – it is largely because it is owned by the National Trust and has been run by the same family for more than a hundred years.

Let’s hope that, between them, they ensure it remains in business for many years to come.

The Vine, Pamphill, Dorset BH21 4EE.
Tel. (01202) 882259
Opening Hours: 11–3, 7–10.30 Monday–Wednesday; 11–3, 7–11 Thursday–Saturday; 12–3, 7–10.30 Sunday


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