Almost a second Marillion reference in two days there.
The main flaw in our plan to “Do the Borders” by train is that the train doesn’t actually serve many places in the Borders. Not by a Good Beer Guide definition, anyway.
Just the two in Galashiels and (with a walk) Melrose. Perhaps the extension to Hawick will be complete by the time I go back. In 2029.
But, joy of joys, two ticks near Gorebridge on the inward journey, in what the Beer Guide calls Edinburgh & the Lothians.
The first is a real gem. I had the Stobsmill Inn down as a dining pub in an upmarket Edinburgh suburb; it’s anything but.
Only distinguishable as a pub by the large red “T”, which could equally have been Telephone as Tennents, this really is everything you could want from a really basic local.
The photos don’t do it justice; it really felt like a remote, simple boozer like the one in Greenhaugh, with a similarly jolly landlady and professional drinkers who clearly weren’t propping up the quality of the lone real ale from Kelburn (a good choice, NBSS 3.5).
We loved it, for unfathomable reasons. Perhaps it was the little kitchen at the bar, the Aitkens Brewery mirror, the lone guitar, or the fact there was an electric socket that allowed me to surreptitiously recharge my phone.
But really, it was just the locals.
“Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom !” was the pick of the banter.
As Charles explained, this is a key line from Blackadder. I wouldn’t have known.
In complete contrast, a train stop and 20 minute hop later, the Sun at Lothianbridge was the archetypal gastropub.
As Mark Kermode would say, this was more problematic.
Nothing wrong with the beer range, or the welcome
“Are you getting seen to ?” Never ask Charles that.
or the setting underneath the arches. It could have been Stockport.
But you’ll see the problem below, as Charles searches in vain for a seat.
I don’t like being condemned to the garden of a pub, even in the Sun. It didn’t improve the beer either. No banter, just a few Bentleys.
Charles considered phoning for a taxi, but we pressed on to Dalkeith on foot.