This is how a pub should look

Fortuitously I was in Bedford yesterday as the launch of the new Beer Guide sent shares in fish bladders plummeting, and able to sample the first new entry you’ll come across in the Guide.

Swans debating the impact of potential isinglass ban

The nice man at CAMRA books had asked me to take a photo of his former home, and I always accept requests on this blog.  Swans on the river, Bunyan statue, 20 minute wait in McDonalds for espresso; all present and correct.

John contemplates new Guide entries on Page 208

But Bedford is changing, even since my visit earlier this year to bless the Bass. Some smart cafes and restaurants around the Higgins Museum and at the top of the High Street.  A Brewhouse & Kitchen has appeared, always a sign of impending gentrification.

The Harpur isn’t going to feature in my top 1000 shopping centres, but a few signs of craft (e.g. Bears & Tales) have invaded the side streets.

And street art is beginning to appear alongside the cranes looming over the new riverside developments, some of it good art.


In a year’s time, with the Bunyan meeting room re-opened and the cranes gone, this will look like a pleasant small county town rather than Aylesbury.

What’s wrong with the pub sign ?

The King’s Arms is a rare traditional new entry into the Guide, in a year of micropubs, brewery taps and Marston 2-for-1s.  The cheery landlord told me it was back in after 18 years, which was rather alarming as I’m sure I would have ticked it off in 1998.  Such things keep GBG completists asleep at night.

It’s a fairly standard Bedfordshire Greene King (a cool IPA NBSS 3) place, but the building is a rambling gem with at least six different drinking areas.  A proper pub for everyone, rather than a niche pub for beer tickers.  Welcome back Kings Arms.



  1. Bizarrely I was also in Bedford yesterday, or rather in a hotel just outside, discussing potential supply with Greene King and wondering when my GBG will arrive; apparently Amazon will let me know when they’re “ready to dispatch.”
    BTW, the Brewhouse and Kitchen is a recent Wetherspoons disposal, like those in Wilmslow and Chester.


  2. Bears and Tales is where the craft beer crowd is headed next. “The Drink Emporium.” We are seeing these pop up over here. Distilleries etc. As “craft” becomes less trendy this will be the next fashionable trend.


  3. For quiz question 1, I note the spelling of tales suggest stories rather than the things pointed eared relines that aren’t from the Isle of Man have protruding just above their arses. This would suggest conversation. The tinted window looks rather modern, as does the bizarre painting inside which appears to depict a cross between a dog and an alien. It doesn’t look like an art gallery to me, so I reckon it is some form of modern poncificated drinking emporium, probably with posh wine and craft beers for £5.60 a half.

    For question 2, the word ‘Kings’ is missing an apostrophe between the g and the s. I also reckon the bloke with the bugle isn’t actually the king, so I don’t see why he is depicted.


  4. Interesting note on question 2: “Public houses like The Kings Arms and the Bulls Head rarely get an apostrophe, but that could be indecision on the part of publicans as to whether they are talking singular or plural kings and butchers.” Not lobbying for quiz point! Was curious and poked around. Most do drop the apostrophe.


  5. Richard, the pub is called the King’s Arms, not the King’s Coat of Arms, but I see your point.

    Malcolm, I take your point. Having researched such windy instruments, it appears a bugle is a completely different shape.

    Dave, surely if the Kings were in the plural, there would still need to be an apostrophe after the s to signify mass possession of the arms.


      1. Thanks for that, Richard. I always knew that the coat of arms was used to signify the bloke in battle, although I have often wondered if they ever gave it to some other poor sod to act as a decoy but I didn’t know that the King’s Arms was a formal abbreviation of King’s Coat of Arms. If this is true, it just about counteracts all my pedantry on the subject.

        Once Lizzie conks it though, assuming Charlie is still alive and even if not the same can apply to Bill, I would like to see a pub called the King’s Arms with a picture of the current king with his arms outstretched or raised above his head or similar.

        Dave, correct use of apostrophes is something that the English are notoriously bad at. In fact, it is probably the most common form of grammatical error in this country. You will frequently find misplaced, completely unnecessary or incorrectly non existent apostrophes even in prominent places like professionally produced shop signs. Pubs are by no means unique in this regard. Indeed, a superfluous apostrophe is commonly known as a grocer’s apostrophe, due to the number of times you see greengrocers with an apostrophe in a plural. I don’t know whether this is a problem in other countries, you may be able to shed some light on the position in America.


      2. Tom, I would love to see that pub, too.

        I believe that texting and similar types of correspondence are adding the already poor writing that we see. I would like to compliment the writing on these beer blogs; I think all the blogs and comments are well written and well above average. It also has been very entertaining. Falling in second place to the beer information.


      3. RM, thank you for the link. I did not have that one.

        How you all have time to read/comment on other blogs and still have time to write your own is beyond me.


    1. Tom, let’s be absolutely clear. Writing in the US is painfully bad. I taught freshman comp 30 years ago. It was bad then and is worse now. I work with professional people who cannot write a competent sentence. You really have no idea until you see it.


  6. I agree with that thought, what I think is interesting is the information I read said they dropped it completely for places and pubs. Kind of interesting. I want that quiz point badly.


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