Yes, we’re mainly doing Norfolk at the moment, until sanity is restored with trips to Manchester and Worcester tomorrow.
The post on the Lillie Langtry Bar in Harleston’s
tat antique market prompted a fascinating debate about what constitutes a pub, which descended into an argument about horseboxes. I liked Dave’s comment that a pub is a place that people use as a pub, which makes sense to me. Building, décor, beer range, the type of customers are less relevant.
The problem, of course, is that increasingly people use pubs as places to dine rather than to drink, and that’s what keeps pubs going.
Exhibit 1 is the King’s Head at Brockdish, a couple of miles south of Harleston, but a different world to that towns pub offer.
This is a dining pub in the coastal Suffolk style (think Snape), tucked into Norfolk nothingness (sorry). That means piped jazz, tasteful paintings you can buy, wooden beams, chandeliers and “menu of the day”. There’s a big sofa by the hottest fire you’ll come across outside the Dead Poets, used by folk choosing their lunch, and the large dining tables shown above.
That doesn’t sound very pubby, but it was actually a pleasant enough spot for a cool half of local Moongazer Pale (NBSS 3), which was better than I guessed.
Simon will love it if he ever gets here. Earnest discussions on the next table about Christmas arrangements, cottage rental in Devon and art shops were predictable, but no less entertaining for that. If those topics don’t say upmarket, the ladies were drinking Aspalls (sorry Mrs RM). I rest my case.
At the other end of the pub scale, Banham’s Garden House is very definitely pubby, despite its many idiosyncracies. The pub is also known as the Cider House, to clearly distinguish it from what used to be the famed Cider Shed on the other side of the village. I was confused, and hopefully I won’t be the only one.
Apart from the Harleston-standard memorabilia, it had many of my favourite pub features. Beer and cider from the barrel, that weird Goose Island tap, and ice cream in the garden (not October). It was also as cheery as you could hope.
A chap came up to say hello who’d met me at the Maypole during the Cambridge Beer Fest; wish I could remember that.
I felt I had to try the Burnards cider, from the aforementioned Shed down the road. Very good too, though it may yet come back to haunt me that I didn’t try the real ale here if I ever get close to finishing the Beer Guide. Perhaps BRAPA can advise.