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Pub/Bar of the Month August 2018: Birch Hall Inn, Beck Hole, UK

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Birch Hall Inn, Beck Hole, North Yorkshire

Beck Hole is a sleepy little village deep within the North Yorkshire Moors national park.

Birch Hall InnSomewhat unbelievably, during the nineteenth century, it was home to a thriving coal and iron industry, but the Industrial Revolution didn’t linger long here. The grime and the fumes soon disappeared and with them went most of the population.

Of the settlement’s two pubs, one closed in 1940, but one remains and it’s a little rural treasure that should be on every pub enthusiast’s hit list.

The Birch Hall Inn began life as a conversion of two cottages during that industrial heyday. Today, it is a beautiful anachronism, two tiny bars that are a testament to the way country pubs used to be.

The larger of the bars is the public, located on the left side of the premises. It’s gloriously basic and simple with a hard, concrete floor, a dark wooden ceiling and a stone fireplace somewhat obscured during warmer months by one of the cushioned benches.

Faded floral wallpaper, hunting scenes and old local prints provide the décor. A small trophy cupboard (for the local quoits team) is inset into one wall and there’s space for just three tables. In this staunchly child-free bar, orders for drinks are taken via a hatchway.

Sweet Shop

The other bar is even smaller. What catches the eye, apart from the single table, inlaid with old pennies, is the collection of old tins and packages, gracefully rusting with age and taking you back to a time when grocery stores were simple and uncomplicated.

Birch Hall InnThat would be the time of the old-fashioned sweet shop and here the pub can do better than nostalgia. Squeezed between the two bars is its own little confectionary emporium.

While you enjoy a pint or two of Black Sheep Best Bitter, an organic house beer brewed by North Yorkshire Brewing Co. or a guest ale, and maybe a pork pie or a slice of the pub’s own beer cake (made with fruit soaked in beer), the family can have fun ordering sweets the old-fashioned way.

Sherbet lemons, Pontefract cakes, jelly babies and more are served loose and dispensed by the quarter into plain paper bags.

Beck Hole these days is unrecognisable from the industrial centre it once was. A pint here, and particularly in the neat little beer garden that runs alongside the bubbling beck, is the sort of treat British summers are made for.

Birch Hall Inn, Beck Hole, North Yorkshire YO22 5LE.
Tel. (01947) 896245
www.beckhole.info/bhi.htm
Opening Hours: 11–11

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