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.
The Pomfret had kindly given me the material for today’s quiz too.
QUIZ TIME – WHAT CONNECTS THESE ITEMS ?
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.
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.
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.