Oldham bar serves up big award

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 24 August 2020

An Oldham bar which only opened for business a year ago, has landed a top accolade from a drinker’s watchdog.

The Cob and Coal at Tommyfield Market, owned by Michelle Riley, has been voted The Cider Pub of the Year by CAMRA’s Rochdale and Oldham branch.

And Michelle, former landlady of the Tandle Hill Tavern, says: “I’m delighted with the award. Oldham is traditionally home for beer drinkers - we carry six cask and four speciality keg beers - but I’m pleased my selection of different ciders and perry’s has fostered a new market.”

 Commenting on the award, Peter Alexander, Chairman of Rochdale, Oldham and Bury Branch, said "This is a well-deserved achievement by Michelle. 

“Winning this award is particularly impressive as the pub is only celebrated its first year in business. Traditional cider is becoming more popular in our branch area and, as always for our awards, competition is fierce. 

“Not only has the Cob and Coal, a tremendous traditional cider and perry choice, but Michelle actively promotes these fantastic drinks to her customers, many of whom seek the pub out just to try the wonderful selection from around the country. 

“I congratulate Michelle and wish her every success in providing traditional cider in the future and hope it inspires other local pubs to take up the challenge and offer their customers a real cider or perry.”

Mike Robinson, the branch’s vice chair, who presented Michelle with the award, said: “The Cob and Coal is a fabulous little bar that has fully embraced the recent upturn in the sales of real cider and perry. (Natural fermented apple juice and pear juice). 

“The pub usually sells up to seven real ciders and a perry by gravity taps behind the bar from the cool room. The variety and style of the ciders on sale has always enabled drinkers to have their taste buds challenged.

“Our branch has been really impressed by the unique range of ciders and perry from both Lancashire and Yorkshire on sale together with ciders from as far afield as Kent and Cornwall. All in all a tremendous effort in its first year of trading.”

Leicester-both Michelle settled on the bar’s unique name after discussing traditional cob coaling with her husband Chris. 

“I’ve got into a many a row over what a bread roll should be called,” she explained. “It’s a cob in Leicester and in the end we decided on an honourable compromise and the name of the tune fitted the bill because of song’s connection to the area.”

The song “We come a cob coalin’” was a firm favourite sung by children in the run up to Bonfire Night.


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