Monday, 12 September 2016

Courting favour

I was recently in Whitchurch, Shropshire, and spotted the very appealing-looking White Bear, tucked away in a courtyard just off the central square. It was briefly closed for refurbishment, so I didn’t venture in, but it certainly looked tempting.

I have always been intrigued by these rare “courtyard pubs” which convey a sense of cosiness and intimacy secluded from the hustle and bustle of the main streets. Another one is the White Horse in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, brewery tap for Evan Evans Brewery, which I visited last year. A third one that springs to mind is the Rose & Crown in Ludlow, once tied to Wem Brewery, which has recently been taken over and reopened by Joules. They do seem to be something of a speciality of the Welsh Marches and rural Wales.

The Old Starre in York, famous for its inn sign spanning the street, used to very much of this type, although now thoroughly modernised and deprived of most of its original character. Similar, although not quite the same kind of pub, are the historic galleried coaching inns such as the George in Southwark and the New Inn in Gloucester, and Whitelock’s in Leeds is a city-centre luncheon bar down a yard off the busy shopping thoroughfare of Briggate.

The Golden Cross in Shrewsbury, now more a restaurant than a pub, is down a narrow passage off the High Street, while the Boot Inn in Chester, while now extended forwards to Eastgate Row, used to be similarly only accessible via a passageway.

Are there any more that spring to readers’ minds?

19 comments:

  1. Love that beer. Where were you staying? I wouldn't have thought there was a lot in Llandeilo to attract the tourist, Evan Evans beer apart!

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    1. I was staying in Carmarthen, which isn't much of a tourist draw either. I blogged about it last year. Llandeilo is an interesting little historic town in its own right, and also has Dinefwr Park on its doorstep. It's also the thinly-disguised setting for Martin Green's A Year in the Drink.

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  2. How about the Ackhorne in York and the Baker's Arms in Winchester?

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  3. Hook Norton's Elephant & Castle in Bloxham, Oxon, a personal favourite. It used to be on the turnpike from Banbury to Chipping Norton. There's no door in the external wall, so you have to go through the high carriage entrance to gain access to the car park, garden, terrace and front door.

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    1. Oddly, I've never been to Bloxham, as it's on a "tangent road" that I would never actually use to get anywhere from here.

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  4. The White Bear is a nice enough pub. Not the best served beer in town, but usually OK. Out the back is a long, thin beer garden which is bounded on all sides by walls and overlooked by trees. It's a nice place on a summer's day.

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  5. Old Mitre in Ely Place, London

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  6. The Ship and Shovel in Charing Cross London. Also it is on both sides of the alley.

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  7. I was thinking of that, particularly unusual as it's in the courtyard of another (Okells) pub.

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  8. I remember the Hole in Ye Wall on Hackins Hey in Liverpool City Centre as being reached down a passageway, but WhatPub shows it as having a street frontage.

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    1. The Hole In The Wall is down a narrow street, not a passageway. And it's not on the corner as TM suggests: it is right next door to the the Saddle Inn which is on the corner.

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  9. and there's (famously) the Turf Tavern in Oxford.

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  10. The Guest House in Southport has an attractive small beer courtyard.

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  11. Would you classify The Old Post Office in Shrewsbury as a courtyard pub? https://whatpub.com/pubs/SHR/4743/old-post-office-shrewsbury

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  12. I was quite disappointed last time I visited the Old Starre it had changed so much from how I remembered it, did feel it had lost alot of its hideaway style charm, and Im sure there are more Ive been to than I can remember :) but theres the Lamb Inn Norwich as another one.

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  13. The George Inn, Southwark... there's a whole book about it :-).

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  14. The Albion and The White Bear in Bristol

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