Apart from the Beer Guide (of course), What Pub is the best CAMRA achievement since they invented real ale in 1973. The real challenge of the Revitalisation project is maintaining the interest of a dwindling band of volunteers in monitoring and measuring pubs and beer quality.
Nearly all the real ale pubs are on WhatPub now, along with the keg classics of Skelmersdale and many other top towns. The devotion to duty of Wakefield CAMRA in documenting the ASDA and Whitwood Truck Stop is to be commended.
Occasionally a gem (or dud) drops through the net.
I’m not sure what drew us into Cornucopia’s tat market (or even Harleston to be honest). Probably their loos, which turned out to be tucked behind the Double Diamond signs and ’70s LPs in the Lillie Langtry.
Is it a pub ?
Well, it’s got a well-stocked bar, proper seating, beer mats, and people no doubt berate their husbands as regularly as they do in the Thatcher’s Needle. And a large bell.
The onslaught of memorabilia count against it a bit, so that it feels a bit like the recreated pubs at Beamish and the Black Country Museum.
It would be a cosy place for a pint of Adnams, or local bottled beers, though I suspect most visitors stick to coffee and cake. It’s only open till 5pm, but 9-5 is longer than many pubs in this year’s Beer Guide.
So my question is, is this a pub ? And if not what would make it one ?
Curiously, I was approached by a charming gentleman while taking the photo below.
The sign for the Magpie remains, but Harleston’s premier pub is now the JD Young Hotel, with name and opening hours reading like a well-known pub chain. Our local pub expert was not impressed by the transformation, pointing me instead toward the hardened drinkers of the Swan. I may be professional, but I’m not hardened. We opted for the comfort of the bakery.