You can’t say that

Rutland is within range of our Campervan, so I expect we’ll be wobbling round the pond there quite a bit.  We might even visit all the pubs in the “county”, and there’s bigger hardships in life.

There’s a stereotypical Rutland pub with ivy on the walls, hunting pictures and Barbour-jacketed diners, but Oakham’s newest pub on a half-finished housing estate follows a rather different trend.

Yes you’ve seen that one before. Just off every “A” road in the county

My journeys along the A6 and A50 take me past a dozen such Marston dining pubs, which are much more identikit than the much maligned Wetherspoon chain. This is one of those 2-for-1 places where the 1 costs £15 for a dish worth £7.50, but old folk like a bargain.

I don’t mind that, old folk like familiarity, and they bring decent real ale to the masses. To be honest there may be a bit more cask sold here than in some Spoons, despite Timbo’s best intentions.

Rare sighting of Isle of Man’s finest

Offering well known brands helps Marstons’, and Pedigree is still a respected beer in the Midlands. Okells will be viewed as a daring purchase by the average OAP visitor to the Old Buttercross.

I wasn’t daring, I had the Pedigree, which met the main criterion of cool (NBSS 3).  Good enough for the Beer Guide, in fact, though I can’t see hordes of beer tickers diverting off the A1 for this when the Grainstore Tap (and Bass memorabilia) is five minutes away.

The Buttercross was doing very well on a warm midweek lunchtime, with grandparents wearing out their toddlers on the sort of play area I wish I’d had at the age of four.

Back to type a few miles away into Rutland Water’s straggle of villages.  Following the sound of gunshot, we finally arrived at North Luffenham’s Fox. It attempted to annoy me with it’s “Country Pub & Dining” banner, but that’s what people want, and I couldn’t really fault the Oakham JHB (NBSS 3.5).

Typical Rutland

Service is a bit too formal, and the pub a bit too clinical for my tastes, but you’ll know by now how much I enjoy the drama of gentlefolk arguing over who pays the bill.   I suspect Mrs RM will make me return for lunch.

The guest beers you’d expect, and plenty of fire extinguishers

That may just be Rutland for another year.

QUIZ TIME – Foxy ladies, but what did it say on the Gents ?

10 thoughts on “CONTRASTS IN RUTLAND

  1. Ive done most pubs in Rutland with my brother driving me round them,the Old Butter Cross is a new one on me.
    We did the Finches Arms in Hambleton on 19th October 2013 and still talk about how crap the pub was,i have never been in a pub that is so much up its own arse,if you look slightly normal then you will be ignored and if you listen to the conversation of most customers in you may want to give them a good punch.
    You have been warned Martin.


    1. I thought you might have done most of them Alan !

      WhatPub says of the Finch’s Arms;
      “it provides elegant, chic rooms with luxury toiletries and cosy bathrobes”. Says it all really. Loads of places like that on the North Norfolk coast,which is why I avoid it.


  2. I wish to propose that the sign on the gents said gents, due to the landlord not managing to come up with a suitable fox related pun.

    Is the water tower in the photograph the play area? Children should be able to have lots of fun in there.


  3. The Marston’s dining pubs may be identikit architecturally, but, unlike Wetherspoons, they have a variety of menu themes.


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