Like a kid in a listed sweet shop

Historic: The Buck i'th' Vine
Historic: The Buck i'th' Vine
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The first thing that caught my eye when stepping inside the Buck i’th’ Vine was its unique ‘sweet shop window’ bar.

Walking down a narrow corridor past a lounge to my left, I had to bend down to see underneath the unusual grilled hatch style opening.

I couldn’t help but ask the barmaid about the origins of this strange serving area – at which point an elderly gentleman in a snug to the side informed me it was an old tuck shop counter – part of the original Grade II listed building.

Looking around, I was fascinated by many other unusual features of the pub, thought to have been built in the late 17th Century or early 18th Century.

Then, remembering why I was there, I ordered a pint of Stella (£3) and a small white wine (£2.60), which my partner said was nearer a medium in size and refreshingly generous.

More of a lager man, I was a little disappointed by an offering of Stella, Carling and Fosters, but there were bottles of Peroni, and a good selection of real ales.

The pub, which also has an outside drinking area on one of the town’s finest shopping streets, is said to have a small former theatre on its first floor.

On the wall outside are some impressive Art Deco signs and a hanging lantern, which makes it a great place to watch the world go by, especially on market days.

However, we sat further down the corridor in a large, cosy lounge.

Historic photographs of Ormskirk adorned the walls and dark woods, and low beams and brickwork were complemented by a number of fires that added to the homely feel.

In a smaller room to our left a game of darts was underway, and the pub was fairly busy for a Tuesday night.

I gather it underwent a £130,000 refurbishment in 2011, and there are a few mod cons, including flatscreen TVs showing football, gambling machines and a pretty decent jukebox – always a key criteria in my book.

Nipping to the toilets I can report they were clean, and I smiled at a sign on the way in which said anyone can use the facilities – even if not using the pub – but suggested if you do, perhaps a donation to a nearby Macmillan Cancer box might be appropriate.

Overall I was very impressed with the value for money, the friendliness of the staff and the building itself.

I’ve decided I’m definitely going to call back in at a weekend, firstly to try their food, and secondly to have a few more drinks when it’s not a school night!