The Reliance is beautiful. Here is a bar that wouldn’t be out of place in an impressionist painting of Montmartre. Floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, wooden floors and matching furniture, shelves with books, a chutney sale, newspapers… even a mezzanine dining area.
To complement the Reliance’s beauty, it has a beautiful beer menu. Even if you want a bog-standard lager, it’s Freedom Four or Estrella for you. There are three cask ales on, including their “own brand” best bitter (from Barnsley’s Acorn), a real cider and a medium-sized but very varied bottle selection (we saw unusual beers by Kernel and Brooklyn, and some Marble, Mikkeler and Sierra Nevada amongst others). The keg draught selection is good too — MJ Fortis, Vedett and Bacchus Framboise were in evidence.
We didn’t eat at the Reliance but we’re told that the food is excellent and it seems the eating atmosphere would be spot on.
A beautiful bar makes a great painting, but does it make a great atmosphere? Well, not exactly. The place is a bit noisy and seems to get quite crowded even when there aren’t many people in there. We’ve tagged this post with “beer garden” but this is in fact just a couple of small tables at the front.We also thought this would be a great place for breakfast or some out-of-office working so the noon opening time and lack of wifi were a bit of a surprise. It’s also pretty pricy unless you’re getting their own brand beer, although of course there’s always a premium for good beer.
Definitely one to check out, especially if you’re stranded on this side of the ring road looking for an unusual place to get a good beer. Take a camera!