Pub Curmudgeon rightly picked me up for placing the Railway Tavern in Powys. I’ll be sticking to historic counties from now on. For a week or so till I get to West Wales.

I popped to Montgomeryshire‘s old county town (pop.1,200) to see if anything had changed since Mrs RM got a room at the Dragon Hotel for a tenner by buying the Times for a week. Indoor swimming, inedible breakfast and decent beer from memory.

It was full of retirees back then, and is still closer in feel to Rye than Bishops Castle. An hour of peaceful walking took in some gorgeous black and white buildings,


old garages,


and a half-decent ruin of a castle, if no Ludlow.

I was more taken with some exceptional pub management just up the road in Cilcewydd, pronounced as you’d least expect. The Square & Compass is a rare beer-only place, a bit short of heritage status but close to my pub ideal in feel.

The inevitable Brummie (as they all seemed to be round here) drew off plenty of Butty Bach at opening time before serving me a half.  She then examined my glass, declared it too warm (it was fine) and poured off another.  Magnificent stuff.  Just a shame the chatty locals had moved on to Carling for the summer.


In Montgomery itself I had a less than brilliant half of the ubiquitous Wye Valley (NBSS 2) in the GBG listed Crown, a basic locals pub memorable only for the artistic display of toilet humour below. Nice dead fly too.



  1. A few thoughts on Montgomery:

    1. Lovely little place, but not much to it
    2. The Crown used to be a Wem pub and was always the GBG regular
    3. The very poncey-sounding Checkers on the market place used to be a basic-looking Ansells pub called the Chequers
    4. Good to see the former Cottage Inn at the north end of the town is now Monty’s Brewery visitor centre. But the name of Monty’s Brewery always sounds a touch amateurish to me.

    The three present-day local authorities in West Wales align to the historic counties – Carmathen, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire – so you can’t go wrong.


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