In the Boar’s Head on New Years Eve I realised that none of my Top 100 pubs so far are from Stockport, despite me telling you it’s our greatest pub town (now that Bathgate is losing its Wetherspoons, anyway).
Stockport suffers from a surplus of treasures, with at least a half dozen potential candidates, and that’s before I consider the irritation potential of my nominating the Emigration. But it was four years since I’d last set foot in the Olde Vic, and I needed to make sure that Dick and Dave didn’t miss this idiosyncratic gem before heading down to The Smoke.
The Vic was one of the first pubs I did on an ill advised (and doomed) attempt to clear the town’s ten entries on a February night back in 2002 (back then we stayed in Altrincham,which says something about the growth in budget options along the A6). As it turned out I called it time at the Spread Eagle, which made the Vic seem plush.
Back then the Vic had the ugliest pub exterior outside Motherwell, and the same limited hours, hiding one of the great cheery town pubs. I’m sure they had a go at my Southern accent back then, and their view on Northern superiority haven’t changed I see.
I actually popped in here on that famous date 13 May 2012, to be met by a barrage of ribbing as the glory-hunting City fan I clearly was. It was brilliant.
As was the beer. And it still is.
On New Years Eve I had the Mallinsons, as a good a beer to end a year as any. No idea what it was called but it had Simcoe hops, which probably doesn’t narrow it down.
Proper pub seating, weird clutter, some bloke cooking in the corner, a beer board, folk who insist you talk to them. It’s actually very far from being a Beer House, the Magnet and Crown are your places for a dozen beers. But the tight range in the Vic helps maintain quality and quality cask is what it’s all about.
Dick and Dave were a bit bemused, I think, but it had been a long day.
It’s a classic. Not in the Edwardian architecture sense of an Eccles Lamb, but in the sense of a place for all that wants you there, even if it has a funny way of showing it some times. No bouncers on the door, no NYE admission tickets, said it all really.
Even if it does have some dodgy looking investors.