Character rooms with interesting décor, local ales and rewarding food; seats outside with country views
The good pub guide review
This charming, village-centre pub is not only consistently well run and welcoming, but also thoughtfully renovated and offers a fine choice of drinks and pleasing food. Once through an impressive glass door, the bar sits to the right with a raised fireplace styled like a furnace along with blacksmith's tools and relics. Down a step to the left is the older part of the pub, with button-back leather armchairs beside a two-way fireplace, rugs on flagstones, hops and some fine old brickwork. They serve Fitzherbert Best (from Weetwood) and Swynnerton Stout (from Staffordshire) on handpump with a couple of guests from breweries within a 35-mile radius (such as Merlin, Spitting Feathers, Titanic and Weetwood); also, 16 good wines by the glass, 30 fantastic and carefully chosen ports with helpful notes (they hold port tasting evenings ' phone for details), a dozen gins and a fine hand pull cider from Taunton. Staff are helpful and friendly. The beamed private dining room is similarly furnished with a nice mix of old dining chairs and tables, plus window seats with scatter cushions, gilt-edged mirrors, black and white photographs and chandeliers; background music and board games. Do look out for the glass-topped giant bellows and anvil tables, door handles made of historic smithy irons, and candles in old port bottles. Outside, a covered, oak-timbered terrace has contemporary seats around rustic tables, heaters, fairy-lit shrubs in pots and country views; there are more seats in a small hedged garden. There's a circular walk from the pub; dogs are greeted with a biscuit and bowl of water. The pub is owned by Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin of Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars.
The good pub guide food review
Creative and enjoyable food includes candied beetroot and Ragstone goats cheese risotto, a signature sharing plate with home-baked pork pie, scotch egg, port and chicken liver pâté, scampi and half-pint of prawns, pan-fried calves liver with mashed potato and greens, pan-fried cod with peas, bacon and caper sauce, katsu chicken curry, smoked fish pie, and puddings such as salted caramel cheesecake with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and honeycomb ice-cream.