Mrs RM let me visit Tyne & Wear on my own, even before she’d seen my punishing walking itinerary. Her loss.
I didn’t get to Sunderland last year, the first season in a while I hadn’t got a ticket for City’s trip to the Stadium of Light. I was a bit amazed to see five new pubs in the new Beer Guide though. And some tremendous street art on the way to my first tick.
Predictably it rained incessantly on my trudge through the terraces of Roker to Poetic Licence, a pub I knew instantly I’d visited already as the R Bar. Only a select few, including Mr Everitt, will know the deep joy of a pointless journey in the rain.
The skies then cleared enough for a view of Roker’s treasure, though sadly the bouncy castle was out of use.
Sunderland is a wonderful city when the sun shines, which I’m beginning to think is less often than Macclesfield (joking, I’ve had great weather in both places). The Glass Centre is a good place to hide before you make a run for the centre.
I was making for the Dun Cow, but had to stop for this piece of gorgeousness.
I don’t know how to do justice to the Dun Cow, one of the most ornate pubs in Britain, and good enough reason to visit the city on its own. It’s a credit to Camerons, and their Head of Steam branding means a good (ambitious ?) range of beers that I ignored in favour of Strongarm (NBSS 3). Plenty of evil keg filth here.
Service was incredibly cheery, the beer tasty and cool, Creedence Clearwater Revival just the right volume, and the fire raged. A bit quiet though, even for 2pm on a Monday. I can’t imagine the Crown Posada that quiet.
The same story a few yards away in the other Head of Steam. I reckon the Ship Isis is even better, both visually and for beer. Aaron* at the bar recommended the excellent Almasty (NBSS 4) and chatted pubs and stuff; he’s a credit to Camerons (who I’d always thought a dull regional brand). The upstairs rooms from Vaux days are outstanding.
But I don’t visit pubs to photograph architecture, and Pub No.3 was both the dullest and liveliest of the day. Chesters in Millfield is one of those Spoons copycats that attract all the professional 3pm drinkers as well as chip eaters.
If BrewDog is craft, then craft is pushing into the “less-than-posh” suburbs; this is the first sighting of Dead Pony I’ve seen outside Leeds.
I was (genuinely) delighted when one old boy asked for “On Next”, and pleased to see a decent level of ale turnover. Anarchy, particularly Blonde Star, seem to be the beer of choice, but the rest of the range was your family favourites. Decent beer, ruined by that dreadful octagonal glass that is the hallmark of Stonegate (or is it Greene King ?).
My final Port of Call looked like something out of Brighton’s Laines, and treated as a restaurant with beer it sort of worked. Double Maxim and Jaipur is a fairly model cask range in my book, and Lupuloid on keg is a good option if the cask is too warm for you (it was, slightly). The styling was a horror show, the chicken burger a classic.
If anyone can recognise the World War II film being shown on that screen for reasons unknown, they win a can of Lupuloid.
I can’t believe I haven’t been in the Dun Cow and Ship Isis before. Sunderland’s Beer Guide quota now includes some classic pubs as well as decent beer in the Fitzgerald places and Ivy House. Whether they can all stay open all day every day is a different question.
*Sorry if I spelt your name wrong mate