Lovely glitter ball

Greater Manchester, Newcastle and Cambridge seem to have the best quality beer, looking at my scoring over the years.  Peterborough has rarely let me down either.

The city has had half a dozen reliable Beer Guide pubs of some character for a decade or more now, all scoring highly for quality and pubbiness (even the Spoons).  Not much new in the centre for some time though, which is why our trip to the ‘Boro was overdue.

Not a lot of change in town full-stop, but the magnificent cathedral is looking in fine shape, unencumbered by scaffolding as is the norm elsewhere.

The city promotes it’s retail “offer” (ugh), but coupled with the attractive Nene Park Peterborough is a good day out for shopping haters too.  That doesn’t include Mrs RM, who thinks Westgate one of the best places to waste money, and I agree with her.

HMV sadly no more

Just outside Westgate, Oakham’s Brewery Tap is looking its age, but with survival now ensured it felt right to pay it a revisit.  That may have had more to do with the Thai tapas (shredded chilli beef superb), though Mrs RM rated the Bishops Farewell as highly as my Citra (NBSS 3.5). Certainly as good as you’d hope for in the Tap.

Classic Peterborough design

It’s a jolly place too, with lots of gleaming metal tubs, high ceilings, hipster beards and glitter balls, which I appreciate isn’t everyone’s idea of a great pub.

That ideal might be the Wortley Almshouses, one of Sam Smith’s 1980s conversion jobs on one of the city’s other classic buildings.

John Lewis just out of reach for Mrs RM

It used to be a row of houses, and now it’s a row of drinking areas of differing character. Plenty of places to hide, which is always a good thing.


Without the classic shape of a Boar’s Head or White Horse, it won’t impress every Sam’s fan, but it impresses me.

Gorgeous.  Could only be Sam Smiths

Very much smart “working-man’s local” rather than ale house, and with one of the best (and coolest) OBBs of the year (NBSS 4).  £1.90 too, in Cambridgeshire.  Mrs RM couldn’t find the loo, but neither could I.

The Wortley Almshouses doesn’t have a glitter ball.  Or Thai chips.


  1. I’m not sure why but I have never given Sam Smiths a chance. I need to change my ways. You read so many odd things about the brewery that I have sort of avoided the pubs. Your post makes me question that behavior. I do drink the oatmeal stout in the bottle off and on.


    1. Surely it’s Humphrey’s idiosyncratic attitude that results in the company being so determined to plough its own furrow and ignore the changing moods of fickle public taste.

      And I always think boycotting companies over some nasty thing they’re supposed to have done is a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.


    2. Sam Smiths OBB is one of the most challenging beers I come across, there’s a fine line between it being superb and wishing you’d chosen their excellent lagers.

      Nearly all Sam’s pubs sell plenty of OBB and no other cask, so low turnover should rarely be a problem.


      1. On no other topic have you changed my mind more than on number of taps. I think you are dead on with this idea. I admit I used to like a lot of taps. I have found your argument quite persuasive and it matches what I have tasted and experienced.


      2. Pub Curmudgeon often writes about this. You will often find the specialist beer house with lots of pumps can sell it, but the estate pub with two or three beers can’t sell it. Never simple !


      3. I went in five Sam Smiths pubs last Saturday 20th August in the Wetherby and Boston Spa area lots of walking and bus rides a great day out,i like the proper OBB but on the day i liked the keg version just as much,all were 95p per half.
        I love doing Samuel Smiths tied houses as it is like a blast from the past with only their products on the bar.


      4. Agree with that Alan; reading your posts reminds me when you could sample different beers by going in different family brewer pubs.

        Good to see the £1.90 a pint seems the standard price everywhere (except London). Wetherby a traditional town with good pubs. Will you write a post about it ?


  2. Yes, 14 pumps in the Magnet where 90% of the customers are drinking ale is fine, but 8 pumps in a dining pub where 90% of the customers are drinking lager, wine or soft drinks (and few are having more than one drink anyway) isn’t.


  3. Haven’t been in a Sam’s pub for a while, how did the idiosyncratic Humphrey’s catering initiative work out, the one where he insisted every pub sold a predetermined pie range? #justasking


    1. That strategy abandoned, think Pub Curmudgeon answered my question on that. Years ago a few Sams pubs did excellent in places like North Shields and Barnsley, no idea what it’s like now.


      1. The pie experiment was abandoned within a year after a lot of negative customer feedback. Where Sam’s pubs do serve food they’ve reverted back to a much more normal kind of menu, although stodgy pies and puddings still feature to some extent.

        To be honest, except when on holiday, I don’t tend to eat in pubs all that much as the food is usually dull, predictable and expensive for what it is.


  4. Yes i will be doing the Wetherby pub crawl at some point,i did all open pubs and bars in Weherby then all in Boston Spa i walked down to Clifford and then bused it to Brabam and then another bus to Thorner which is a really nice village with three pubs which i did.
    I found a new bar come bistro in Wetherby which is not on any pub lists and a two third of a pint of keg Bad Beer co Dazed and Confused cost me £4.50,i was dazed and confused after paying that amount for a keg beer.
    I posted the St Neots crawl on Saturday,not sure if you have read it yet Martin.


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