I failed to get a ticket for what was, by the look of it, City’s best League performance since the heady days of Autumn. More time for exploring the pubs of Dorset, which is fast becoming one of my favourite counties.

Bournemouth itself looks the weakest pub town, at least on the basis of a paltry three entries in the Guide.  That may be generous too, as Chaplins is in Boscombe, but you can’t tell the difference.

Central Bournemouth fares particularly badly; perhaps only Milton Keynes compares with its single entry. My favourite pub was the Cottonwood, a slightly upmarket hotel bar that felt like being in a Mike Leigh play (more Abigail’s Party not Nuts in May).

I’ll spare you the Moon in the Square, an average Spoons notable (reports say) for better than average table clearance, a big problem at many Spoons currently.  You have to walk into the suburbs east of the station to get decent beer.  The walk is spectacularly dull, but the beer makes up for it.

The Cricketers is the sort of pub you find near football grounds like Ashton Gate and St Marys, which often isn’t a good thing. With blokes smoking at the door and a prepossessing exterior I was considering a quick half on an outside table.

I succumbed to a pint of Dorset Brewing’s Equinox, clearly the first pint pulled, and it was gorgeous (NBSS 4 !). Pint sunk in 7 minutes, should have had a Pride next really.20160331_161750.jpg

A good mix of professional drinkers, young pool players, and blokes who like ZZ Top. Not really the sort of pub you get your Kindle out in, so I admired the exceptional leaded windows (top), which I suspect made me look even more suspicious.

On into the slightly more characterful streets of Boscombe, and frankly the different planet that is Chaplin’s Bar.  Words fail me really. This is the entrance.


And this is one of the great UK pub gardens (yes, it’s in the garden).

Chaplin’s Bar

I’m no film fan but this is a marvellous place to sit and gawp at memorabilia, including a wonderful portrait from “The Kid“.


A lovely pubby feel again, and another excellent pint of Dorset (NBSS 3.5) was enjoyed despite an uncalled for plastic glass (overzealous football policing ?). If that wasn’t enough to knock my score down, the piped James Bay might have been*. Credit though, for decent pricing – £3.01 with CAMRA discount, and I always carry pennies.

It did cross my mind to decant the pint into that attractive looking vase but I couldn’t get the pebbles out first.

The toilets are something else too; this is a wonderful place, never mind pub.

*I am joking.


    1. Yes, I didn’t even bother commenting on the centre. All the usual shops are there, some pleasing gardens, but nothing of the architecture of an Eastbourne or Southport.

      A lot of the suburbs are actually quite grim, but then you’ve got Sandbanks next door. Weird place.


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