Decades of dull but solid progress in Northampton, and suddenly it’s become a must-visit pub destination.  The Nuneaton of the civilised world, perhaps.

Not since the County Ground stuck up Meccano stands and duckboards for “big” games, just before their move to Sickfields, have I seen such a building frenzy in the county town.

First a cutting edge skatepark, then they demolish the historic bus station, and now a new University campus by the riverside, which looks more interesting by the year.

The Pomfret Arms is a proper local without the alehouse affectations you’d expect from a brewpub. Some (im)proper pub chat about the “merits” of our new Prime Minister perfectly suited the proper seating next to an inferno of a fire.

I had to sit that far from the fire

The Pomfret had kindly given me the material for today’s quiz too.



The second brewery on my trip was unfortunately not offering tours on the day of our visit.  I quite like that Elephant beer, but there was no obvious off-sales.

That’s what I call a brewery

In the town centre, next to top gig venue King Billy’s, the Phipps tap at the Albion is completely gorgeous. It looks like a church filled with offcasts from old pubs, but somehow works as a modern pub.

That’s more to do with a good customer mix than the billiards and skittles.  No obvious food trade, just booze and chat. Plenty of real ale being drunk on Saturday too, including the excellent IPA (NBSS 4).  The overall effect is similar to Jarrow Brewery’s flagship Maltings (RIP), which I guess isn’t a great comparison in the light of events at Jarrow.


Northampton looked absolutely splendid, the sun gleaming off the stone in the  market place.  If only someone would sort out the town’s Inventory gem.

Proper pub

Northampton has a cultural centre based round shoes, Charles Rennie Macintosh and pantomime at the Derngate. I can only assume that “actors” from the theatre populate the Mail Coach, which was the exact opposite of the Albion on the pubbiness scale.

No proper seats, “rugby” on the TV, Fullers/Deuchars/Elgoods as their local beers. Lots of people standing around not doing anything.  What is it with young people and pubs ? Don’t they teach pub etiquette at college these days ? If one of you is ordering orange juice and lime (!),you don’t all need to hover at the bar. 


  1. I went to Northampton for the first time on 1st October this year and did 20 pubs in the town,i am surprised the Mail Coach is in the beer guide,when we went in only one real ale and it was crap,Slaters Haka.
    The Black Prince in town is the pub with 26 handpumps and all different.
    We walked up Wellingborough Road and was dissapointed to see Behind the Bus Stop had been muscled out by a Beer Guerilla and a Lighthouse.
    If the Albion Brewery was a keg only pub would it then be described as a drinking barn by the real ale geeks !

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It as always been too expensive on train from Nottingham or Derby to get there,it was my brother who said i will drive down there as i have been wanting to do it for so long.
        We really enjoyed walking round the town and Wellingborough Road is great with so many pubs still open.


  2. For the quiz:
    The day that England won the Eggball Union World Cup, Hull City AFC drew 0-0 at home to Yeovil Town, incidentally Yeovil’s first ever draw in the Football League. Having started drinking early and being more inebriated than normal, a supporter in front of me was ejected from the ground for throwing a coin.

    I’d be amazed if nobody has been ejected from a ground for throwing a conker on the pitch at some stage.

    For Whom the Bell Tolls clearly refers to that prize prat at Portsmouth with the bell, who at one stage was ejected from the stand for at least a couple of seasons and required to stand in a tent type thing suspended from a floodlight pylon.

    A great number of people have been ejected from grounds for the creation of empty whisky bottles.

    The connection is clearly that the items are all related to ejections from football grounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bee Gees no apostrophe, Jack Daniel’s should have one.
    Sorry but it’s been a long day. Currently in the Crossways Inn, West Hunspill having taken 3.5 hours by car from North Staffs.
    Martin, do you want this tick, it was in last year’s GBG and certainly deserves still to be in?


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