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.