There’s only one thing better than a trip away exploring cobbled streets, ticking pubs and tasting takeaways. And that’s reading about my fellow GBG completists disasters. It’s like the joy you get from confirmation of an Arsenal defeat to a tiny team like Watford.
So my recommended reading is Simon’s report from just outside Drax Power Station, and Duncan’s recent experiences in London, a place which takes Dryanuary to its logical extreme by closing pubs for a (boozy) staff party.
My own record in January is eight. Eight pubs I’ve tipped up at the advertised times (Beer Guide/WhatPub/website) and found them closed. Unannounced refurbs, staff parties, new winter hours, inability to open the electric gates, whatever. But don’t worry, walking three miles in the rain from the railway station is good for the soul.
Mondays are the worst, Mondays you’d be better off on the Outer Hebrides. Even when the times you have are right, they’re rarely encouraging. Looking for a North Yorks lunch stop on Monday, six out of ten possibilities were shut all day or opened at tea, two of the rest were giving the chef a day off. The impromptu closure for refurbishment of the Yorkshire Pub of the Year was a particular blow after that three mile walk from Richmond.
I then thought I’d missed last food orders at the White Swan at Gilling West, just north of Richmond, but they were pleased to serve me. Even more oddly, they seem to have increased their opening hours – it can be done.
It’s a place I’d been meaning to turn off the A1 for years to visit, but once you get this far north you tend to press on to Durham.
Words like “Artisan” and “Provenance” on the walls don’t bode well, but it’s a perfect unfussy village pub with proper food. In fact the best food I’ve had in a pub for a long time. Not your usual pub fish and chips, or your usual coffee machine.
The local Mithril beer was decent enough, though a little bit fizzy (see top photo) (NBSS 2.5). As well as keeping the kitchen going, the staff were very cheery too.
Flagstones, pictures of shotguns, and a sense that slightly posh people still come here for a pint, all present and correct. Three old boys in mustard jumpers discussed gravel over the sound of a gurgling child. Best lines;
“He played on Nut Rocker by B.Bumble & the Stingers” – what ?
“Do you fish or do you shoot” – “Excellent, excellent”
“I’m going to have a libation”
That’s proper pub conversation right there.
It also become the first GBG pub in my long experience with a photo of PJ Harvey on the toilet walls. Now that’s just weird.
10 thoughts on “MONDAY, MONDAY”
I was going to suggest there must be a photo of PJ Harvey amongst the montage of old NMEs on the wall in the gents of the Plough, Shepreth… but then consulted the GBG and was surprised not to see it in there. As you were.
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The Plough’s time is yet to come …
To be fair, you probably wouldn’t want to try and drink in Drax power station.Outer Hebrides are far too convenient at this time of year, perfect season for a trip to the Old Forge at Inverie.
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A personal irritation from the 90’s was trying to find the Star at Netherton open. Every time I made it there it appeared to have reduced it’s opening hours even furthero – sure enough the next year’s GBG would have diminished hours listed with the disappearance of the time I had tried to get inside. I think it was three attempts in the end (so far), never made it in yet.
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Sympathise. Made it in 98 on a Sat evening, only time it was guaranteed open ! Great countryside nr Rothbury
Landlady looked 80 back then
Castle Eden from jug, not that great.
My record for trying to do a pub and never doing it was the Clarksfield Hotel in Oldham,an Oldham brewery tied house in a pretty grotty area,after 6 attempts while trying to do every pub in Oldham in the late 80s through to the mid 90s,never did do it though it always looked functional.
There is an ex GBG 1999-2016 listed pub in scum that has really dire opening times,the advertised openings are Mon-Fri 7-11,Sat 12-2 and 7-11,Sun 12-2 and 7-10.30,i have passed the pub loads of times and never seen it open,i did do it back in the early 80s when it was an Ansells tied house.so not really bothered about going in a pub with crap opening times like that.
Can you name the pub Martin,a drinking session on me in an Hungry Horse in the Outer Hebrides if you get it right.
I’m fairly sure that’s the Rowditch Alan (still in GBG I think). It’s not that odd, ad I like Pedi, so no loss I think.
Really enjoyed the Oldham story !
Yes spot on Martin,
why do the GBG like picking pubs with crap opening times,i find it very off putting and am sure a lot of customers do who want a drink at dinnertime or mid afternoon but the pub is closed,they will like me take their custom to pubs that have decent opening hours.
On another note how do GBG listed pubs like the Rowditch keep their beer in good condition when they have such limited opening hours.
Well Alan, that is indeed the question. The answer is that it sometimes isn’t in good condition, though it might be when those that vote for GBG pubs turn up on Friday night.
The Beer Guide must be about quality beer not quality pubs I’m afraid Alan, but they’re hobbies as far as I’m concerned.