It’s not my aim to knock our hard-working publicans, they make or break the quality of beer and if this blog has any aim other than as a diary it’s to promote pubs off the beaten track.

So I’m going to anonymise my latest problematic trip to a new Beer Guide entry (if you can hack my CAMRA account you can probably track it down via WhatPub scores).  I’m sure Dick and Dave can work it out. Possibly using this picture and Google Street View;


Despite appearances, it’s not the lazy “S” at Manchester Piccadilly.  This truly is the worst High Street in the country (caveat – excluding Durham).

The pub in question is a couple of minutes walk from a newish Travelodge which comes alongside Simons shop of choice.  Here’s me outside it;


I visited recently, with the GBG and WhatPub declaring opening hours of 11-3, 5-11 throughout the week. It was firmly shut at 12, and I couldn’t hang around till 5, but at least back then I had the consolation of some stellar street art to cheer me as reward for my four hour return trip.  IMG_20160926_103426.jpg

For this trip, I consulted some sources of alternative truth, from the pub itself.

The Pub Website shows Opening TimesMonday to Thursday 3.30pm to 11.00 pm, Friday to Sunday from 12.00

Facebook – nothing

Twitter – dormant

So I tipped up again on Friday at just gone 12, noting a posh-sounding pub over the road, and a second Guide pub round the corner, both opening up.

You know the story by now, no sign on the door, no-one home. So I phoned and asked politely if they were opening today. 3.30pm, of course it would be.  Only 210 minutes in the dullest place on earth to wait, and a few arrangements to cancel, but I wasn’t moving.

Not literally, of course, I did pop into this two-Spoons town to admire the civic buildings. I’m no expert on these things, but they may be from the Brutalist tradition.


There’s also a sign appealing for funding for a Bowie statue; I believe this is the town that sold three copies of the second Tin Machine album, which is all you need to know.

The mystery pub could then have been fantastic, but it wasn’t. You can see for yourself (top) the “Reserved” sign (for 3 hours later !), the plastic flowers, the fake fire, the lack of a “hello” or “goodbye”.  At least it had beer mats, I suppose.

I asked for a half, got a pint (£3.50) of Wychert (clue there) that alternated between tired and chewy.  The pub itself is the sort of club-like venue you get in Shepton Mallet or Ebbw Vale, with local radio and a sense that karaoke is just around the corner.

I know that Marvin Gaye had more important things on his mind when he penned “What’s Going On“, and there are clearly bigger worries.  Straight bananas, Indian restaurants devoid of iceberg lettuce, the return of “rugby” fans to our public transport system etc. etc..

But this Opening Hours fiasco is just too much.  All I ask is that pubs tell us when they’re open, and then open at those times. 

30 thoughts on “WHAT’S GOING ON ?

  1. I do believe I’ve worked it out, though your tweet at the time rather gave it away! Let’s hope the writing is on the wall for this particular GBG pub…(pun intended)


  2. I think you may be on to something there – Marvin also wrote “There is something I can do, I can get on the telephone and call you up… open up and let me in”. Clearly a frustrated pub man. Although he earlier states he “can’t hold it much longer” so it’s possible he just wanted to use the toilet.

    Really though, I’m both entertained and pained to read your experiences of the erratic opening hours fiasco. The linked-to post from Pub Curmudgeon, drawing a parallel with the reliable opening hours of shops, is spot on. In the absence of that reliability, and without going all Tomorrow’s World, imagine if there were social networking services where pubs could post messages indicating that opening hours were temporarily not as advertised.


  3. We stayed down the road a distance from the place, I am glad we went to the Squirrel, not that we thought of going to …


      1. Until now, I had not realized that the Squirrel dropped out of the book. It was in the 2015 and 2016 editions and seems to alternate with pubs in Penn.


  4. After buying the first Tin Machine album, I’m amazed anybody actually bought the second one. Were 3 copies the entire UK sales?


  5. I had a friend who owned restaurants and his first rule of business was you have to be open when you say you will be open. A rule he followed religiously. English pubs are tough to find accurate opening times. The Netherlands and Germany are even worse. Especially around holidays.


  6. I believe I have worked it out from the photograph provided for Dick and Dave and in record time. Opening times can and do change, so in some cases the GBG will be superseded. However, a pub with a website should have accurate opening times on there and there should surely be opening times on a sign by the door. If there are circumstances forcing an unscheduled closure, then surely at least put a handwritten sign on the door if nothing else.

    It would be nice if pubs themselves could contact CAMRA to get Whatpub updated. It is free advertising for them, they must get some extra trade out of it.


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