Steve and Fay Briddon have opened a bar in the picturesque West Yorkshire town of Holmfirth
Holmfirth in West Yorkshire continues to attract tourists thanks to its popularity as a TV location, most notably for sitcom Last of the Summer Wine for nearly 40 years. There is now another reason to visit the small town just south of Huddersfield: Oscar’s Café & Wine Bar.
Specialising in cakes and coffee in the daytime and cocktails and wine in the evening, Oscar’s has been created in a former café by ex-serviceman Steve Briddon and his wife Fay. Both from Holmfirth, they saw the potential for the site after opening bakery Bridlie Butties over the road four years ago. They were determined to make Oscar’s a high-quality establishment, investing £100,000 in high-spec kit and interiors, including a top-of-the-range ServaClean bar system. “We have taken a modern cocktail bar atmosphere and put it in a sleepy town,” Steve says.
It is stylishly furnished, from industrial-style bar stools to tartan upholstered banquettes from Seatable UK, plus a solid oak hand-finished bar with a granite top. The large glass frontage allows guests to enjoy coffee or wine looking out over the picturesque centre. Originally three buildings, the 140-capacity venue includes a table-service snug area upstairs, popular for parties. Their perseverance in developing Oscar’s and their other businesses is reflected in the bar’s name. Their Persian cat Oscar reached the age of 20 – beyond the breed’s normal lifespan – despite numerous life-threatening incidents including being run over and needing a metal leg.
For the drinks, they recruited manager Sam Taylor who previously worked at Holmfirth’s Aldea Kitchen & Bar and Camel Club and Toyko in Huddersfield. Coming up with a variety of classic and original cocktails, he is constantly working on new recipes, drawing on the bar’s range of premium spirits. They are strong on gin, with superior brands such as Monkey 47, Caorunn, Death’s Door and Copper House, each recommended on the menu for a perfect serve.
A select wine list has been put together with Alex Ellmenreich from wine supplier Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines, made up of 14 reds, 12 whites and four rosés plus sparkling. The beer range includes Guinness’s Hop House 13 lager, BrewDog’s Punk IPA, and Samuel Adams Boston Lager on draught, serviced by a new system in the cellar built by Brewfitt.
Steve and Fay have put together cheese and charcuterie boards, sourced from some of the best suppliers in the area. Meats come from The Greedy Pig, using pork from pigs farmed in Holmfirth, and focaccia from the award-winning Farnley Market in nearby Farnley Tyas, plus different cheeses from Harvey & Brockless. “Whenever we reached the end of a long week and didn’t want to cook or go out, we would simply prepare some meat and cheese on a board and sit on the living room carpet with a bottle of wine,” Fay recalls. “This is how Oscar’s Café & Wine Bar was born, through us believing that something we enjoyed so much could be available for everyone.”
Oscar’s Café & Wine Bar, Rotcher House, Rotcher Road, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire HD9 2DL
Tel: 01484 767972
Originally published in the April 2016 print edition of Bar magazine.