BRIDGNORTH – NEARLY PERFECT

Some folk seem to think I have a nice life, travelling round the country visiting pubs and listening to female folk singers.  Don’t be fooled.  My good friend Charles gets to stay in the Black Country a night or two a week, have a curry with me, and go to Audit Comittees. That’s livin’ alreet, as Kevin Rowland once said.

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You haven’t lived until etc etc

I also get to practice my Totally Immersive Tourism Service on Charles.  It’s a potential future career if the Government goes bust, assuming there are folk willing to pay to be herded round dumpy Midland towns and fed pork pies in scruffy pubs.

Charles had never been to Bridgnorth, which I can only describe as an omission akin to never drinking Bathams.  I characterised the town as being to Bewdley what Scarborough is to Whitby, which was meant as a compliment.

It might lack the iconic riverfront, but Bridgnorth has the hill, and a castle seemingly on a perpetual collapse.

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Where folks from the Black Country visit Bewdley for an evening of fish and chips by the river, Bridgnorth gets a decent amount of overnight visitors throughout the year, many staying in the town’s old pubs, though perhaps few are here for a pub crawl. Visitors from such exotic locations as Stourbridge and Dudley had stayed at The Croft, the best B&B run by a bloke from Blaydon in town. Top kippers.

This is a great town to amble round, particularly in the morning. Travel down to Old Town on the funicular and then run up the adjacent steps. There’s a defibrillator half-way up, but the scary doll shop is more likely to finish you off than the walk.

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Prop from The Exorcist 2

Actually, the shops are as quirky as ever, with only the arrival of Costa and Prezzo seemingly breaking the independent stronghold.

We took  the less steep walk round Cartway, one of the most picturesque streets in England, and revisited the Black Boy.

No new GBG pubs for me; they’ve pretty much all been in the Guide over the years, such is the overall quality of the town. But you should always visit the Black Boy.

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The Black Boy has a touch of Worcester’s King Charles II about it, an unpretentious but very well-ordered and cosy place with one a beer range of just the right size (5 beers across the range of styles and strengths). Purple Moose and Sadlers were NBSS 3.5, the pork pie served at room temperatures scored even higher, the Led Zep a bit predictable.

Fantastic pub seating, too.

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Which is something that can’t be said about the Black Horse in Low Town. A must visit due to its Bathams last time, this is one of the most challenging pub write-ups I’ve had to do.

You enter a modern bar that resembles an assault course, containing every type of seating except comfortable ones.  It looks like the sort of “Young Peoples” pub you find in Biggleswade.  That’s not good, by the way.

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No cask in here of course; that was in a tiny back bar packed with barflies, mums with pushchairs and folk looking for a seat to enjoy their pint.  An adjoining conservatory was also overflowing with happy boozers.

And there’s the rub.  Much as we wanted to dislike this place, the Bathams was nectar. It really was an NBSS 4 beer, as good as Kinver or the Dog & Doublet.

 

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Nectar

 

We squeezed back into the sports bar with its exposed paintwork and exposed lightbulbs, catching the end of “Ride on Time” and hoping this was all some great Work-in-Progress.   It will be our first port of call if we come back.  Reports welcome, as they say.

To show how odd pub life is, we then had a wonderful hour of banter in the Railwayman’s Arms (it’s near the railway), but the Bathams there wasn’t as revelatory as in the Black Horse. There were plenty of ale drinkers in, but still perhaps the beer range was ambitious.  Or perhaps folk are getting blasé about the wonders of the Brierley Hill amber bitter nectar.

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Apart from the ordeal by real fire, it’s the company that make this one so great.  On Thursday, that was a couple of market stall holders enjoying their night off with rum and Bombardier.  The chap spoke about Charles Wells finest the way Mancunians speak about Cloudwater DIPA No.7.  It was decent enough here, but peculiarly under-sparkled.

Charles left his request for future beers on the pub’s chalkboard.

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Three busy pubs, a good mix of custom, none of it from diners (our pork pie apart).  Things are looking up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “BRIDGNORTH – NEARLY PERFECT

  1. I am sad to say that I have not experienced a Bathams or visited Bridgnorth. Something I hope gets rectified soon, simultaneously.

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  2. Yes, a very characterful (and under-appreciated) town and a great place for a pub crawl.

    I know what you mean about “every type of seating but comfortable” 😉

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  3. I have always wanted to do Bridgnorth,but have found it too hard to get to on public transport from Nottingham,i may have to try harder next year.
    I have done five Batham tied house though and loved the beer and pubs,one of them has now closed down which was an estate pub that i love going in.

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      1. There’s a reasonable bus service from Wolverhampton IIRC, but yes, two changes of train and a bus from Nottingham isn’t the simplest of journeys.

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      1. Yes you are right Martin,
        It was The Holly Bush on Bell Street which was just off High Street in Pensnett.
        It was a pretty nasty looking estate pub that would have been more at home in Collyhurst or Bestwood,.
        The Bathams Bitter was very nice,i did the pub on the 2nd September 1988

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    1. Alan, from Nottingham change at Birmingham and Kidderminster for Bridgnorth, you will probably have to walk across Birmingham from New Street to Moor Street.

      Ticket wise you will need the following:
      Notts – Long Eaton day return £4.60
      Long Eaton – Kiddy cheap day return £17.20
      Kiddy – Bridgnorth SVR £15 addon ticket.
      You will need a Nottingham to Birmingham train which stops at Long Eaton – the vast majority do.

      I’ve never had a pub move in Bridgnorth, last time I was there I was had 20 minutes or so so was able to whip in the cliff lift. One day I will visit the town properly.

      Martin, when the country goes bust please can I apply for a job with your tourist guide company. I’m sure I can take people into pubs, get them through the tour without being murdered and talk complete but plausible bollocks throughout.

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      1. Thanks for that Tom,
        It looks a bit too expensive for me and not sure about the service on the SVR and i think i would be paying a premium to travel on it when all i want is to get to Bridgnorth in the quickest and cheapest way.
        Is there a bus service from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth or is the one from Wolverhampton a better option.

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  4. There is a bus from Kiddy to Bridgnorth, alas it is a 2 hourly service and takes just shy of an hour. I’d probably be more tempted to go via Wolves as it is an hourly bus and easier journey via Birmingham than Kiddy.

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  5. Loving the Scarbro Whitby analogy – Whitby is always the one people say they prefer, but unless they’re Goths, they’re wishing they were having a bit of Scarbro. A bit like the car they drive, the one that says what they want it to say to others about them, as opposed to the one they need/can afford. Same with pubs too!

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