Friday, 14 October 2016

Squalour and grandeur

I’ve mentioned before that I often tend to use CAMRA’s National Inventory as a kind of informal Mudgie pub guide. By definition, every pub on it has a distinctive interior of historic character. Many of the featured pubs are splendid establishments in their own right, in terms of character and atmosphere and, in my experience, most are rewarding places to visit.

While I’m not turning into an NI ticker, this year I’ve made a bit of an effort to visit some of the featured pubs within reach of me that I had previously missed. And it has to be said that one or two have turned out to be places that, setting aside their undoubted historic character, you really wouldn’t go out of your way to visit as pubs.

You can’t necessarily blame the people in charge of them, as they may be in rather unpromising locations for running a pub in the present-day climate, and I’m certainly not going to name names, although if you follow my travels on Twitter you may have gained some idea.

I wrote here about how some magnificent 1930s improved pubs “linger on as rather down-at-heel locals which rather give the impression of barbarians playing amongst the awesome ruins of Ancient Rome”. And it’s a salutary reminder that the National Inventory, while it will lead you to many excellent pubs, is not a cast-iron guarantee of quality.

8 comments:

  1. Michael Henchard14 October 2016 at 16:53

    I too very much like to visit NI pubs, and like you, have been to some dodgy specimens. I do now however stick to this maxim - if a NI pub is also in the current edition of the GBG then it is usually guaranteed to be a win-win situation. My most recently visited example being The Victoria in Great Harwood, Lancashire. A superb experience, with a nice pint of Blackedge Brewers Gold to boot...

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  2. Yes, featuring in both is a pretty much nailed-on guarantee of pub quality. Having said that, I recently visited the Red Lion in Rugeley, which I don't recall ever appearing in the GBG in recent years, which is a splendid little pub in terms of both architecture and atmosphere.

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    1. I know I digress, but how were the ales? Whatpub lists Banks's Mild and Bitter along with Marston's EPA. Other than the TV, it sounds like my kind of a pub.

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    2. Banks's Mild and Bitter and Hobgoblin. The kind of pub where Mild is the default drink, I think. The TV is only in one room and I get the impression is only turned on for major sporting occasions - it certainly wasn't on on a Sunday lunchtime.

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  3. Tell me about it. The Rough Pub Guide has the same reverence and importance to me in noting an important part of pub culture. Those flat roof estate pubs where the Stella is £2 a pint and and characters are quick to violence and drugs and stolen goods freely available.

    But these days, these national treasures are under threat. You go in one and it's a gentrified gastro pub this expensive food and drink. "Jus" on the grub, craft ales. A long list of cask beer. Punters called Japser, Toby or Tarquin. No blood on the carpet, just maybe an artisinally crafted ironically placed piece of urban artwork.

    The problem is change. The constant change of the universe. The 2nd law of thermodynamics that infers entropy. If we can just keep everything as it was.

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  4. Went to the Crown in Glossop Saturday. Another NI pub with a lovely interior. And as a bonus well kept Sam Smiths OBB at £1.90 a pint. Considering moving to Glossop :-)

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  5. Went to the Crown in Glossop Saturday. Another NI pub with a lovely interior. And as a bonus well kept Sam Smiths OBB at £1.90 a pint. Considering moving to Glossop :-)

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    Replies
    1. You already said that this morning...

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