Mark Briggs has been a real ale connoisseur for over 35 years. A self-professed ‘beer geek’, Mark visits East Lancashire’s pubs for his weekly column. Read of Mark’s adventures in ale at his website or follow him on Twitter @realaleupnorth

THIS week my review heads off to Padiham and is focused on a small, historic hostelry, that is situated in West Street at the top end of the town.

The Alma dates back to the 19th Century when it was on the original road that led into Padiham and is a unique building, positioned on the corner of a Victorian street. It’s a traditional, old fashioned boozer of significant historical importance.

You walk into this homely establishment and feel you are in someone's front room, with its cosy seating, old fashioned bookcases and carpeted floor.

The main room has a small L-shaped bar, with a soft furnished ‘snug type' area adjacent to it, where locals can relax over their beverage. The pub also boasts a games room, where you can partake in a game of pool, or game of darts.

The choice of real ales are restrictive with just the two on offer. However, one was the excellent Black Sheep Bitter, a beer that was in good condition – and at £2.50 a pint, it represented excellent value as Black Sheep’s beers are usually one of the more expensive ales.

The pub was rather quiet for an early Saturday evening. But the regulars at the bar and in the snug , all seemed friendly enough, having their usual banter with the landlord, Kevin Kirtland.

The Punch Taverns-owned pub, it’s sad to report, is currently on the market and is under threat of closure. A recent planning application by a prospective buyer to change the pub into two private dwellings, was refused by the council – but I fear dark clouds still loom large over the future of the pub, as long as the Alma Inn is still open to offers.

One regular, said: “I only live 50 yards from the pub and it would be a great shame if Padiham lost another of its popular pubs. The Alma is a very friendly place and it feels very much part of the local community.”

I have to admit it had been about six months since I last visited this friendly watering hole. And perhaps myself and more of the local community, should visit this unique, historical building more frequently. If not, this Padiham pub may become another addition to the alarming number of ‘community meeting places’ that have been lost.