Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Swan crowned

Congratulations to the Swan With Two Necks at Pendleton in Lancashire for having been chosen as CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year for 2014. I’ve never actually been there personally, but it sounds a cracking pub and I’ll try to remedy the omission some time this year.

Situated in the shadow of Pendle Hill, it’s a traditional, stone-built village pub, described by its regulars as being “in a time warp”, that has been run by licensee Steve Dilworth for twenty-seven years. It offers Copper Dragon Golden Pippin plus four varying guest beers, mostly from local micro-breweries, two locally-produced ciders and home-made food. A further plus point is that it doesn’t show TV football. The StreetView image shows a stream running down the middle of the pretty village street.

There have been a few mutterings that selecting a pub of this type shows CAMRA in fuddy-duddy, backward-looking mode, but surely it is a positive step that they have chosen a pub that appeals to all sections of the community rather than some trendy urban craft beer bar that is of interest only to enthusiasts and would make the organisation seem exclusive. And I’m told that hop-forward golden beers feature heavily on its guest beer list – it’s not just Landlord and Lancaster Bomber.

31 comments:

  1. Pendle Hill?

    There are a lot of witchery tales locally.

    Probably of no interest to the boozers who see od things anyway, but fun nonetheless.

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  2. A lovely nice middle class pub for middle class people. Nothing to attract working class folk and rough sorts. I shall drive over for a J20 come spring to do my bit to keep this sort of thing alive.

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  3. Sounds like my kind of pub.

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  4. As I said, Cookie, I don't know this particular pub, but it wouldn't surprise me if it had a vault end with pool table and dartboard.

    And there are working-class people in rural areas. I get the impression that much of the point is that it isn't just another nice middle-class dining pub.

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  5. Mudge, it's a beard pub. It will not have such proletariat pub games. There will not be a pool table, there will be a weird mini pool table with holes in the table that when played looks like an unfathomable hybrid of pool and skittles. If there is a dart board it will not be a standard 1-20, doubles, triples & bull. It will be a weird 16th century version with no bull, no triples and the numbers in different places. When you ask the landlord “why no standard dartboard?” he will tell you the village have their own version of the game. Codifying sports and games is for the purpose of playing against other villages. If you don’t want contact with them you need to keep it local. You don’t want anyone from the other village marrying your sister, if you want to yourself. When you look around everyone will look the same. Related. Like that bit in Being John Malkovich where everyone is John Malkovich. That way it’s a traditional unspoilt village pub.

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  6. The WhatPub entry has now been amended so I've removed the relevant comment.

    It does mention Traditional Pub Games :p

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  7. I too doubt there will be a pool table. Places that look down on tv football don't tend to look kindly on pool tables and the sort of people that play on them either.

    This is a local pub, for local people. There's nothing for you, here.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/clips/p006vm6j/the_league_of_gentlemen_a_local_shop_for_local_people/

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  8. Unless they're Sam Smith's pubs, of course. The Lion of Vienna in Bolton has two pool tables.

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  9. "Traditional Pub Games" You are a man of the world, Mudge. You know what that is a euphemism for dark satanic or pagan rituals. Bet you ten bob there is a wicker man erected in the car park. Remember, you're not the local.

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  10. I've never been to Bolton, is it nice?

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  11. Compared with many Sam's pubs it's actually quite genteel - see here.

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  12. Bolton is a shit hole, py. Makes the New York in John Carpenters Escape from New York look like a quaint village of sunday evening heartbeat type TV. Though it isn't as bad as Gorton.

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  13. Ho ho ho, I always so look forward to 'Cooking Lager's witty comments. I used to wonder, since he hates the whole British pub tradition so much, why he even bothers to read a pub blog, let alone comment at least once on practically every post. But now I see: he's so much more clever than everyone else, and it's very important that we all know it! What a riot, eh? Ho ho ho!

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  14. I too look forward to Cookie posting a witty comment. But I am not holding my breath.

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  15. hate pubs? I love pubs me, cheap ones, mind. If it was cheap enough I'd even tolerate smokers.

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  16. Cookie is the Morecombe to Mudgie's Wise. Its a double act. You lads should start a radio show.

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  17. You know, PY, that had occurred to me - the Cookie and Mudgie double act. Far better than Al Murray's Pub Landlord.

    Come out with the catchphrase "the Pride's drinking well tonight" and the whole audience dissolves into helpless laughter.

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  18. @Py I see it more that Mudge is the Dimbleby hosting a dry political discussion. We are guests, and I'm the regular nutter that appears to wind people up. A Farage, if you will. Trolling isn't insulting people, it gets a bad rep what with some trolls threatening people on twitter and such. Trolling is gently prodding with a stick. Bit by bit. It's the annoying kid in the back seat saying are we there yet. Bit by bit. Just there to annoy.

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  19. It's a cracking pub but very small really; which is something that doesn't come across in the GBG or online. You'd struggle to get a seat if you're not dining and that's before the award. I called in today-the day after the CAMRA bigwigs-and they were already filling up the diary with CAMRA coach parties.

    You're right, though, although it seems an atypical CAMRA pub, it certainly doesn't adhere to it on the beer front and even hipsters couldn't object to the cask offerings.

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  20. 'Just there to annoy'. Isn't he clever! And so funny! Ho ho ho!

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  21. Lord Egbert Nobacon14 February 2014 at 10:32

    Some people may not know that Cookie used to have a beer blog.
    Well,I say it was a blog but it was more the same old schtick repeated ad infinitum with just the odd word changed here and there.
    Even he got bored of reading it and canned the whole shebang so you can imagine what it was like for others to read it.
    Now he roams the interweb,like a modern day Albert Steptoe bottom-feeding off the scraps from bloggers with more original things to say.
    In that sense Mudgie is his 'arold Steptoe, a fellow curmudgeon he lives with under sufference but can't live without.

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  22. I am happy to state publicly that Mudge is far from dirty, he differs from many beardies in that he owns a bar of soap and appears to use it. Not a universal trait among the beards and something that whilst a given in general society appears worthy of note among beards.

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  23. Be very careful what you say. Cookie. Pognophobic attacks are now prosecuted as hate crimes in this country, even if not executed with scissors.

    Besides, what is the point of using soap on my beard when my Fair Isle sweater has an even worse stink.

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  24. >There have been a few mutterings that selecting a pub of this type shows CAMRA in fuddy-duddy, backward-looking mode

    It does but not necessarily a bad thing - it's generated some useful column inches in the press and prompted the village pub.

    Whilst I don't know the demographic of the national POTY team but if it's anything like our own branch, they'll be way on the other side of 40.

    As Cookie says "A lovely nice middle class pub for middle class people" voted by lovely middle class CAMRA people ;-)

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  25. I doubt whether the RedWillow bar is packed with the horny-handed sons of toil either :p

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  26. Difficult to say as with modern cleaning methods and cheap clothes from China, it's tricky to spot the horny-handed sons of toil ;-)

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  27. Martin, Cambridge16 February 2014 at 18:17

    By no means a middle-class pub, just a really good all-rounder that's in an attractive but not over-touristy area (pubs just north e.g. In Whalley are closer to that stereotype). Beer quality was very good indeed. Glad to see POTY stay in the north.

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  28. I called in here earlier today and have to say that, while it's a nice little pub in an attractive setting, with a good range of cask beers from local micros, it didn't strike me as being that outstanding.

    Also overwhelmingly foody, although Sunday lunchtime may not be representative of the rest of the week. And I don't like seeing table reservations in bar areas.

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  29. Was Nigel there?

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/12/senior-tory-nigel-evans-resign-court

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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