With any luck these posts on last weeks trips to Scotland will take so long I’ll never have to try to remember the session with Duncan McKay, the notes for which are a bit tardy.
I could, of course, lump reports on pub visits to Coatbridge in with Troon, but I expect the residents of both great towns would take umbrage.
Staying in Rutherglen is a bit like staying in Stratford in East London. Easy access off the motorways, ten minutes on the train into the heart of the city, handy for the big football ground (Hampden Park was there somewhere in its sunken glory).
Unlike Carlisle, there’s not many £21 options in Greater Glasgow. Not one with walls and pillows, anyway. King’s Park Hotel bust my “tight-git” criteria a bit, but had faultlessly clean, large rooms that only lacked working WiFi. A big lack, unfortunately.
While Stratford has places like Crate, Howling Hops and a giant shopping centre, Rutherglen’s retail and craft offer is more modest.
I partly chose Rutherglen for proximity to this newish Spoons (the name means “A Rude Chilean”, commemorating an unfortunate incident at the 1989 Rous Cup).
It’s narrow, almost Star-like narrow, but clean, bright and cheery.
You can see below the range of cask (if available), and what people were actually drinking. Drinking real ale in Scotland is a gamble, if not a reckless activity.
The Joker IPA was very good (NBSS 3.5, possibly a 4) at £1.55 a pint with voucher, though of course I didn’t see any other cask pulled while I was there. A design feature ?
Wetherspoons have dominated the Beer Guide entries in the Strathclyde towns, just as they do the North West London suburbs, both of which would otherwise be virual cask deserts (see Pubmeister here). Their number has come down a bit this year, and Tandleman has had some disappointments in Scottish Spoons of late. I didn’t make it to Dumbarton; my loss.
Type “Rutherglen” into WhatPub and you’ll see this Spoons is the only real ale outlet from here ’till Glasgow High Street, which takes you past a lot of folk, and a lot of Tennents.
Across the road, the Millcroft sticks to the knitting, offering a half of Guinness and a Jameson for £3.09, and loudly boasting it’s community credentials, though frankly the Spoons probably has just as wide a cross-section of society.
The Main Street in Rutherglen is functional in the manner of an Edgware or a Barking, lacking the independent bars and coffee houses a mile west around Queen’s Park.
Absolutely gorgeous civic buildings, mind.
Harley’s Sky Bar, attractively co-located within the Iceland, briefly appealed with a well-known track booming out of the video screen. Five points if you can identify the track.
My reckless moment came on the Tuesday night, when, with ten pubs and a gig in the bag, I foolishly decided I needed a 12.15 am curry. I really didn’t. Sorry Shimla, the curry sauce and pilau rice were still on the side table the next morning. Chicken tikka and salad were spot on though.
NB The ScotRail man at Rutherglen was as helpful as you could hope when I turned up at 9.30 p.m. with a complex question. Superb service.