Located in an old, elegantly remodelled Edwardian bank in the heart of the town, the Red Willow is one of our favourite watering holes in Buxton. Much of the building’s original character has been maintained, with tasteful oak panelling and art deco flourishes galore.
Style doesn’t come at the cost of comfort, however. As well as plenty of elegant booths and high tables, patrons also have the option of heading up to the cosy mezzanine level to claim one of the bottomless Chesterfield sofas (watch out, these can be very hard to get out of simply sober) or fight for a high-backed armchair in the former Bank Manager’s Office snug bar.
On to the good stuff. The taphouse belongs to the Red Willow Brewery in nearby Macclesfield (where it has a sister bar) and serves a superb selection of its own craft beers, with over 15 keg and 5 cask beers on at all times and plenty of vegan options. We’re fans of the Headless pale ale – a 2019 Champion Beer of Britain finalist with floral notes and a restrained orange-led bitterness; and the Chevalier Mild, the latest release in the brewery’s Heritage Ales programme made using a revived historical malt which dates back to 1825.
Those who favour a lighter tipple are equally well catered for with over 50 artisan gins to choose from, as well as a solid range of draught wines and other hard spirits. Thankfully, a small but good food menu of sharing plates, stone-baked pizzas and seasonal specials is on hand to help line the stomach and soak up the booze.
Ideally positioned within stumbling distance (less than 200 yards) of Buxton station, this is the perfect last stop after a long day exploring the spa town before heading for the train home.
Families and dogs welcome.