Hull is one of Europe’s great cities, the Old Town in my Top 10 for architecture, museums and pubs. Next year as the Capital of Culture they’ll hope to capitalise on those treasures, but I suspect there’ll be more European than UK visitors.
Apart from a few folk who went to Uni there, and my lorry-driving mate, I know no-one who’s been there as a tourist. It’s a long way, people will say, and then drive 1o hours to the Loire Valley. The sun does shine on Hull as well.
I spent my annual overnighter there yesterday, both to complete the East Yorkshire Beer Guide and take stock of their preparation for 2017. It’s coming along fine, though the major works between the Marina and City Hall are an eyesore. You can still see the appeal of the Green Bricks.
Victoria Pier looks better than ever, and continues to provide 3 hours free parking on Saturday morning.
There’s an awful lot of reconstruction still to do, of course. I’ve never seen so much great tiling on derelict buildings, with the historic toilets near the King William statue particularly sad. At least the white tiled Gents at the Pier were open.
The major change in recent years has been the consolidation of their fabulous, free museums to a Quarter near the river, and a dizzying number of new or improved pubs around Scale Lane. There’s still room in town for some of the best looking traditional pubs though.
My annual new Beer Guide entry isn’t a classic (that’s the Whalebone or the Adelphi). The Sailmakers is still attractive and cosy though, with a very decent Ossett Silver King (NBSS 3) seeming quite popular. How long till Hull gets its own Hop ?
It’s not heaving, and neither is Hull. One of the reasons for that is the distance between the University and the Old Town (youngsters can’t walk a mile for a beer), and to be fair there’s some strong café-bar competition close by.
One place that is packed is Hull’s newest bar, Furley & Co. The range of local cask and keg, with Atom starring, isn’t quite Café Beermoth but as close as Hull gets.
For something more traditional I walk the mile up Beverley Road, itself packed with run-down gems, to St Johns Hotel. I didn’t rate this on my visit last year but on a busier night it was a classic corner local, with a classic head on the Old Thumper (NBSS 4).
All the locals stopped playing cards to wish me “Good Night” when I left too, which is Hull to a T. That Chinese takeaway on Beverley Road I told you about here delivered the goods again too.