Back in the hazy summer days of late October I wrote about the last five pubs ever present in the Good Beer Guide – and a return visit to the Buckingham Arms, which is certainly doing a good job of being an exemplar tourist pub.
Another of the five, the Queen’s Head in Newton, is only 20 minutes drive from me but is a occasional visit at best. Public transport is problematic, walking is dull and public footpaths in short supply, and it’s not really a destination pub. Its longevity is due to continuity of ownership under the Short family, and a simple formula that works. Being a freehouse supplied by a quality family brewer (Adnams) helps too.
While I take a short sabbatical from beer (we can’t all be Stonch) I took Mrs RM there for lunch, as we do like their singular take on pub food. Soup in a cup, toast and dripping, salmon sandwiches and so on; same menu for decades and all you need for a fiver.
Sparing the history, I’ll just confirm the pub is homely and gorgeous, and it’s three rooms have just the right amount of stuff(ing) on the wall. I’ve fond memories of playing skittles with my children in the only room they’re allowed in, another benefit of multiroomed pubs.
Mrs RM finished her pint of Broadside in 11 minutes, which I’ll convert to an NBSS of 3.5. (It certainly looked, felt and smelt like at least a 3). The four beers on gravity included Adnams Mosaic and an Old Cannon Beer, but I can’t imagine drinking anything other than Bitter or Broadside here. Adnams had also provided their keg offering and the decent German beers also seen in the Castle, so the drinks range has expanded over the years even if food hasn’t.
We were in and gone by 12.30, when a few retirees of advanced years were popping in for lunch. Newton is a small village of about 400, including I would guess several of the octogenarians using the Queen’s Head. Even when the left-hand lounge was much dustier than it is now, this always felt like a smart pub. The Harrington Arms at Gawsworth near Macclesfield felt similar before it’s updating, as still do the Vine in Pamphill and Bridge in Topsham. I’ve seen folk here in full hunting gear, which is something you don’t see in the value dining pubs of neighborough Harston. I assume there’s ACV protection but I doubt that’ll be necessary for a while.
All well with the world in Newton then. I’m expecting to find the same with the similarly iconic Square and Compasses in Purbeck when I get there this month.