The 343 route has a fair number of pubs along its route which feature or have featured in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. From the 2010 edition of the Good Beer Guide are the following public houses:

Hyde: within walking distance from the bus station are:

  • The Cheshire Ring, Manchester Road (Beartown and guest ales);
  • The Sportsman, Mottram Road (free house);
  • The Queens Hotel, Clarendon Place (Joseph Holt).

The Cheshire Ring offers a wide range of ales by the Beartown Brewery, Congleton and the odd guest ale. Real cider and perry is also available with a changing guest and Weston’s Old Rosie as a permanent fixture. Foreign bottled beers are also available. By night, the upstairs rooms of the pub is a live music venue. Prior to 2002, The Cheshire Ring was a Whitbread house offering little in terms of variety. Beartown’s purchase of the Manchester Road pub that year saw a change of fortunes and listing in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide by 2004. Food is sometimes available with weekly curry nights.

Two other pubs in Hyde which have improved their fortunes since the national brewers pulled out are The Queens Hotel and The Sportsman. The Queens Hotel is a commodious pub in the care of Joseph Holt’s Brewery. Since 2004, it has enjoyed a refurbishment by the Strangeways based brewery and has reaffirmed its position as a popular town centre local. The pub is popular with football fans often showing live televised FA Premier League fixtures.

Five minutes away is The Sportsman. The pub is unspoilt and retains separate public bar and taproom facilities on the ground floor. It offers a wide range of locally sourced real ales and traditional bar snacks. If you prefer to have something more substantial, there is also a Cuban restaurant on the first floor which is well worth trying. Be warned: the main course portions are massive!

Stalybridge: within less than five minutes walk from the bus station and the Acres Lane stop are:

  • The Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar, Platform 1 Stalybridge Station, Rassbottom Street (free house);
  • Stalybridge Labour Club, Acres Lane (free house).

It goes without saying as to which is the most famous real ale joint in Stalybridge. That of course is the Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar on the Yorkshire bound Platform 1. As well as offering 8 real ales and guest ciders, it also offers traditional yet affordable food, such as their home-made style Corned Beef Hash, Liver and Onions, and an excellent Full English Breakfast. Not to be missed also is their Black Peas. If you only go to one pub in Stalybridge, miss this one at your peril!

Just off the bottom Acres Lane stop of the 343 route is Stalybridge Labour Club. Since 1995, it has been the venue of Stalybridge’s Whit Friday Brass Band Contest. A recent addition to CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, it offers a range of guest ales as well as a regular cask ale.

Mossley: literally a few yards away from the 343 stops (including the new daytime route starting on the 31 August 2010) are:

  • The Britannia Inn, Manchester Road (free house/Admiral Taverns);
  • The Tollemache Arms, Manchester Road (Robinsons);
  • Dysarts Arms, Huddersfield Road (Robinsons).

Most convenient for the railway station as well as the 343 stop is The Britannia Inn. As well as offering real ales, it offers food 7 days a week including traditional favourites such as Rag Pudding and a Sunday Roast. The pub is a lively venue popular with pool and darts teams and has a Sunday Meat Draw.

Further up Manchester Road towards Roaches Lock is The Tollemache Arms. It is an unpretentious pub which serves a well kept pint of Robinson’s Unicorn bitter. The interior seems to have been unchanged since the 416 was amalgamated. On my visit I expected Gene Hunt to barge in.

On the top end of Huddersfield Road is another Robinson’s house The Dysarts Arms. This compact pub offers seasonal ales from the Stockport brewery as well as Unicorn Bitter. Its intimate atmosphere makes for a pleasurable visit. An outdoor picnic area looks out to Top Mossley with views of Quick Edge and Roughtown.

Oldham: outside the bus stands on Clegg Street (opposite TJ Hughes) is the Ashton Arms (free house), which is the sole CAMRA Listed real ale pub in the town centre. The former Bass house makes up for its basic interior by offering 8 real ales, a guest cider and Foreign bottled beers. It is excellent not only for the last stop before the bus station, but also the Town Square and Spindles Shopping Centre.

Last 343 journeys (important!):

  • From Hyde (to Oldham): 2120;
  • From Hyde (to Mossley, Brookbottom): 2320;
  • From Oldham: 2219;
  • From Mossley (to Oldham): 2155;
  • From Mossley (to Hyde): 2243.

Finally…

If you have any comments about the pubs along the route or any other honourable mentions, feel free to include them. As with the 343 bus route itself, pubs including their owners, beers and listings in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide are subject to change.

S.V., 07 July 2010.