I quite like the initiative by Boak and Bailey to record for posterity in detail the workings of a pub today, though frankly a read of Simon Everitt’s blog is probably all that future generations need (a thick skin will help of course). No chance of me sticking strictly to the B&B template though.
I’ve never been a detail person, and this was an odd piece to do, particularly when I had to ask the friendly barman for a pencil sharpener (pen and pencil were essential for authenticity).
I’d wanted to revisit Epworth for a while. It’s one of the smarter small North Lincs towns, with its Wesleyan connections ensuring a small but regular flow of visitors.
It’s spick and span rather than gorgeous, though the hanging baskets that dot the streets are attractive and the sort of thing that coach parties flock here for. Unfortunately, the Epworth Tap isn’t a micropub.
The Old School Inn, new to the Beer Guide, is as different to the only other recent GBG entry as you could get. Where the Queen’s Head is a basic boozer, and would probably have been a better one to observe if it wasn’t quiet, the School is closer to a restaurant. Tellingly, all but myself had arrived by car.
It’s a recently refurbished dining pub, a Free House since purchase from Greene King. There’s an informal dining area and a slightly smarter (and lighter) room leading on from the bar. I get the posing table, which again says a lot.
At 12.30pm, there’s three people sitting at the bar drinking, a father and daughter (I guess*) and a lone middle-aged chap. They’re smartly but informally dressed, and seem to know the pub staff quite well. The two men are drinking a pint of Guinness and Landlord respectively. Very slowly.
The restaurant area has one sitting, a table of four ladies in their 20s, and a very quiet baby (I didn’t test that theory). They were all drinking large glasses of Sauvignon Blanc while waiting for the usual smart pub lunches of soups, salads and chips. Table service was provided. Nothing of note was said the half-hour I was there.
Just as I left at 1pm another elderly couple arrived, ordering a Gin & tonic and a coke.
A pleasant garden contained two young men in cycling helmets drinking Amstel in intermittent sunshine.
I sat for 30 (painful) minutes with a half of Brains Reverend James (NBSS 3) in a Doom Bar glass, priced at £1.70. The low level covers of Indie music didn’t help.
Also on the bar were Landlord, Tribute and Dizzy Blonde, a beer range you could find anywhere in the country. Also on draught were the typical gastro lagers – Peroni, Sagres, Amstel and Carling, plus Guinness, John Smiths Smooth and Guinness. A large display cabinet of spirits, and a wicker basket of crisps on the bar.
There are no pub games here, or newspapers. Just a TV on silent and a small function room with another keg bar and sporting memorabilia. Nice picture of Georgie boy, though hardly in the spirit of the pub.
Frankly it was a dull half hour, though the Rev James was good enough. I dined on a slice of quiche from the town’s quaint bakery, but really should have gone for this classic;
* I won’t make a Private Detective.