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.
For this trip, I consulted some sources of alternative truth, from the pub itself.
The Pub Website shows Opening Times: Monday 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.