The golden heart of the village . . .

The Golden Lion Hotel on Allendale’s Market Square

Coeur de lion’ was the given title of King Richard I, while in exile in Brittany, France, after his escapades in the Crusades, or as he became known later throughout the British Isles, Richard the Lion-Hearted. Intriguing, then, that The Golden Lion, sitting proudly on the most prominent corner of Allendale’s Market Square, used to be called The Lion Heart, some centuries ago.

This and other anecdotes were kindly related to me this afternoon in front of the roaring fire by Richard Price, who with wife Louise have been owner-managers of the big public house for the past five years, since they returned to these shores from Australia.

I was in to admire the new bar installation, but it turns out that most of the work is actually behind the bar, with new stainless steel shelves and all the crucial delivery systems for that precious golden nectar: beer. Richard tells me that while the work was being completed over the past two days, they ran a pop-up bar in the pool room, but now they’re ready to serve their grateful clientele from the proper bar once again.

Upstairs in the dining room, now called the ‘1839’ Restaurant in honour of the ‘new’ extension erected on that date (and which incidentally is still graced by wonderful, heavy damask curtains from a much later renovation some 18 years ago now, and which are embroidered, to my immense delight, with the Coat of Arms of Canada) . . .

. . . the Golden Lion hosts a remarkable array of community organisations holding weekly or monthly meetings, which includes The Dale Singers, different Farmers groups, the Allendale Lions Club, the Allendale Challenge volunteers in April, and many more. This friendly hosting capacity has kept the Lion at the heart of this community for many years now.

Richard also pointed to the sign above the bar detailing all the bands expected downstairs throughout the coming months. These free music events are typically held every fortnight, and they do bring folks out from far and wide — no doubt drinking a fair few pints while enjoying the bands!

The Golden Lion is a great community resource, a friendly, warm and welcoming pub, and !oh! you should see it in all its splendour in the summer months, with huge flower baskets festooned over its Grade II listed façade. But even throughout the winter, and today it’s snowing again as I write, even through the cold winter months, it’s always a delight to meet and chat with friends at the Lion, to share tales and stories, and to experience great camaraderie.

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