I set off for the launch of the CAMRA Heritage Pubs guide in Preston this morning, but got no further than Grantham. My chosen hotel (not I hope a euphemism) had been trashed last night, and Preston seems to be full tonight (at least for tightwads like me).

So I recovered over four cups of coffee in the Tollemache, Grantham‘s stalwart Spoons, and annotated my new Beer Guide for an hour.  Lincolnshire is looking like a doddle to complete this year, with the unbridled joy of a return trip to Cleethorpes thrown in.

Pink pen ,Staples markers, blotting paper

At 8.53 am I was the only customer. At 8.59 a small group had congregated, change in hand.  By 9.07 the place was half full of morning drinkers, seemingly all on pints of Magners.

I see a lot of comments on blogs about how sterile Spoons are compared to a “proper” pub, whatever that is.  So for the record, I note that;

  1. The bar person seemed to know most of the elderly customers well enough to banter with them, to their delight.
  2. Folk were chatting to each other, whether they came in as part of a group or on their own, not sitting on their own at home watching TV.
  3. This was the most cheerful atmosphere I’ve encountered in ages, at least if they weren’t discussing the recent price rises.

For the record, the beer in the Tollemache is as good as ever, the Nottingham Brewery house beer being a solid NBSS 3.  A fairly ambitious range of LocAles if I’m honest.

Spot the Doom Bar

To be honest the Spoons was the busiest place in a very quiet town, unless you count the residents in the town’s most famous pub.

Don’t annoy them Si

It’s as pleasant as ever, and a quick wander round St Wulfram’s Church could convince you it’s as attractive as Newark.  The pubs are particularly lovely, if a little dusty.

Named after the BRAPA cat

The shops are a different matter, though fans of Pound Shops will be in their element.  At least you can buy things you want here, particularly if you want sweets.

The pub scene has been static, with the (invisible) Chameleon Music Bar a short lived GBG entrant.  Over the years the town has seen the full range of pubs in the Guide, from a Goose to a Railway Social Club, but the Nobody Inn seems to be the flagship. 

I didn’t make the pilgrimage to see The Dress this time, somewhat distracted by having just missed the highlight of the year at the Guildhall. Sounded better than the show in Cirencester.



  1. There are two pubs in Cleethorpes that I considered potential pre-emptive last year. One is the Colleseum Picture Theatre ‘Spoons, the other is the Number 1. There is an outside chance of it being the Signalbox Inn or Strugglers, and a very outside chance of the Pier. Of course, I do not want or expect you to reveal which it is until the gagging order is over on the 16th of September.

    Your comment about Spoons sterileness is an interesting one. Some are proper pubs, or as close as they can get, with proper pub customers. Others are cheap lower class restaurants with children. There is the odd one that manages to be somewhere inbetween.


      1. Blimey. That is a pub that I often forget exists. I have the tick from a visit as a young child. In the tourist season, the number 17 bus, for which half the dedicated fleet has been involved in collisions with bridges in Perthshire, will take you there from the pier, near the railway station. Alternatively, the 9 and 10 run a slightly less direct route from the crazy golf course near the pier. £1.50 each way on either route. I’d say about a 25 minute walk.

        By Strugglers, I meant Swashbuckle. I don’t really remember names of pubs, or people for that matter.


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