My earliest experiences of Robinsons pubs were the slightly run-down but cheery places in the Dark Peak, close to the train carriage B&B at the Little Mill in Rowarth. It wasn’t just the cheap beer that impressed in the unknown lands of Marple Bridge and Romiley; some of our group had never seen a hill before, or a grumpy Stopfordian.
Before I got to know the even more basic gems of central Stockport, some of which are no more, I visited quite a few smarter Robbies pubs in the posh bit of Cheshire. One that stood out was Tarporley’s Rising Sun, in the first 25 editions of the Beer Guide and looking like a permanent fixture on our visit in 1998.
Even back then, it had a dining trade built around OAP days out, but still with that unpretentious hallmark of Robbies houses, and an excellent Best. I don’t think it made it much into the 21st Century of GBGs, and certainly Tarpoley hasn’t troubled the Guide for a while now.
I made a stop off the A49, which seems to be part of the North-West’s road digging up festival. The bypass is a no doubt a boon to locals, but it’s still a busy village. Pub Curmudgeon will have something to say about the pubs, but the main street reminds me of Knutsford or similarly affluent Buckingham villages like Woburn. If I’d asked nicely, I’m sure someone would have let me see their Best Kept Village 2008 award.
Almost uniquely these days, some of the afternoon trade for cafes and pubs is younger than me. To be fair I’m rarely seen in ladies lingerie shops these days so I can’t comment.
I like the place; the attractive buildings are complemented by some leafy hills to the east, and you can get a hot coffee.
There was even rural drama at its best when a car parked at the Barbour shops (I assume they’re all Barbour shops) stopped a lady in a floral mini accessing the drive to the church. “Flip” she said to anyone who listened. A different world to Llansilin.
The pubs are Olde England attractive, but Rising Sun apart they look a little too coaching inn-turned-gastro for my liking. I remembered decent beer at the lovely Swan, a distant Beer Guide entrant, but perhaps the “pub” sign tells you all you need to know about its market.
Then WhatPub proved its worth, highlighting a place that only opened last month. The Little Tap is closer to Chorlton’s bars than Stockport’s micropubs, but the house beer by Brew Foundation is a commendably bitter effort. Easy drinking it says, but it reminded me of Holts, which is fine (NBSS 3).
The keg selection shows some beer nous too; the menu written on a flip chart reminds me of work.
Opening in July means it’ll be at least two years before this gets in the Beer Guide, even if beer quality merits it. A good start though, and good folk running it, who know how to use the word “awesome”. Hopefully they’ll be able to afford some lampshades soon.
8 thoughts on “NO NEED TO BYPASS TARPORLEY”
The Swan ( once managed by my wife’s first husband, who for me resembles Nigel Farage’s smoother older brother ) is owned by the same people as another of your recent visits, the Crown in Goostrey.
I don’t have much cause to visit Tarporley (although I did once use a solicitor there on a trade-related purchase ) but I would suggest that the average age of visitors is rather older than the spangled hordes thronging Knutsford, particularly after dark. The Tarporley by-pass certainly makes it easier to get around than the Knusford one way streets.
Best if luck to the Little Tap; I hope they’ve managed to negotiate a sensible rent. Any clues as to opening times, a pit stop en route to Chester or North Wales sounds a good idea.
I think you may be right about Tarporley v Knutsford after hours Malcolm, during the days there were more of the ladies who lunch types you don’t see in Crewe.
Facebook suggests the Little Tap is open 12-11, and I would be surprised if they weren’t open all hours. Thinkthey will want steady food trade and tapas looked appealing.
Tarporley is a place I’ve visited twice; back in 2005 we walked from the canal (Shady Oak pub) and went in Forresters Arms, Rising Sun and The Swan – too long ago to remember details, but we had a good evening there.
We were back again in 2012 and only went to the Swan Inn where we had a very good meal and a nice evening only tarnished by the almost complete impossibility of getting a taxi back to our boat! In the end a taxi came from Crewe or Nantwich (can’t remember which, now!) that cost us a few quid more than it should to get back to Calveley!
If it hadn’t been for this dearth of taxis we’d probably have visited there again on our recent boat trip because, as you say, it is worth a look!
Yes, doesn’t look a great walk along the A51 in the dark ! Some proper pubs round there; not sure what Travellers Rest at Alpraham like now.
Martin, the ladies that lunch in Crewe typically choose chips on a bench, if they’re not in the rather dubious Wetherspoons next to the bus station.
Re Calveley and Alpraham, the Travellers Rest is unchanged as far as I know.
There is a food-led blingy Robinsons pub of the type bemoaned by Curmudgeon, the Tollemache Arms, and the pub next to the canal, whose name I forget and which has been closed for some time, is being demolished for housing,
The unlamented Jolly Tar on the A51, back in Barbridge, mysteriously burned down after being sold for development ; only the post sign remains.
There are two good if pricey pubs in nearby Bunbury; the Dysart ( Brunning & Price ) and a very Cheshire free house, the Yew Tree (technically in Spurstow ) which will serve you some interesting beers even if you’re not wearing red corduroys.
The third Bunbury pub ( think it’s the Nags Head ) I’ve not visited.
That’s the sort of contribution we like here Malcolm.
You reminded me; Tarporley ideal setting for a Brunning & Price.
I think there has been a question mark over the future of the two more down-to-earth pubs in Tarporley, the Crown and the Foresters, but according to WhatPub both are still going. It says there’s another new-wave bar called Piste serving the local Weetwood beers.
I’ve been to the Traveller’s Rest within the past three years, and found it thankfully unchanged, but unfortunately it has now stopped opening on Sunday lunchtimes which makes it less convenient to visit. Weetwood Eastgate Ale is a true classic of the BBB genre.
Back in 1996 I did a review of the Rising Sun for “Opening Times”. The main bar on the right at the back used to be very congenial, with high-backed settles, but I don’t know if it’s been changed since. I remember there being a particular group of middle-aged men in slacks droning on about golf handicaps, gymkhanas and holiday homes in the Algarve, which led one of my companions – someone, it must be said, of similarly conservative views to myself – to express the wish that he had a machine gun!
Simon Everitt would have loved eavesdropping on that, not that he’d have had to listen in to hard I suspect !