A welcome return of Mrs RM to the blog tonight, for an instant recap on our 25th Wedding Anniversary celebrations. Nothing like sentimental gush.

I can see you thinking we chose the Wetherspoons in Letchworth Garden City because I had a CAMRA voucher to get rid of before the end of June.  That would be true.


But it’s also true that The Three Magnets is a special place for Mrs RM and me, sited a few yards from our first home on Station Road, and the church in Willian where we were married.

Of course, the Spoons was a hardware shop back in 1992 when LGC’s pub scene amounted to a Hogshead (Castle Eden and Flowers, from memory) and the scary Arena Tavern (John Smiths and other exotica). It’s hard to imagine what an impact Tim Martin had on the non-existent beer scene 20 years ago, and beer quality has been pretty consistent over two decades.


I may not have done the lot, but of the 700-odd Spoons I’ve been to this is the most basic of the lot, alongside the original one in Hemel Hempstead. There’s a theme there.

That makes it unmissable, a rare place to see English Professional Drinking at its early morning best.  At 7pm on a Tuesday (Steak Night) , there’s a bit more of a mixed crowd, to the apparent disgust of the professionals smoking at the entrance.

My coupon gets me an Old Thumper for £1.99.  Only now, looking at tonight’s photos, do I see I could have had Pride for £1.19 !


The Thumper tasted a bid odd to me. I said so to the Spoons barmaid, who, unbelievably;

  • Seemed interested in my £1.99 pint
  • Tasted it herself  “Just tastes fruity, like it should do
  • Popped down the cellar to check whether it was the bottom of the barrel (it wasn’t)


I had no answer to this immaculate service.  It was, indeed, just a bit fruity. Mrs RM didn’t complain about it, and she knows her Old Thumper.

It was getting lively by 7.30, and we popped across the road to the shyly named Crafty’s, about which I knew nothing.


This is a remarkable little beer shop/bar, with an atmosphere I was genuinely mystified by; the “Nashville Skyline” of microbars, perhaps.


A smallish collection of bottles and cans running to Yeastie Boys and Cloudwater,


Don’t ask the price, it’s £3


four local cask beers from the barrel,


and some very chilled keg from Beatnikz, Northern Monk and Thornbridge.  All at £3 a pint or can.  Even the Northern Monk 6.2% ice cream beer (which Mrs RM found oddly alluring).  Young lads were drinking at the bar were buying up cans by the dozen, older boys were getting mildly sloshed in the back bar.  Very un-Letchworth.

What is very Letchworth is the shouting coming from Spoons at 8pm. A series of police cars screamed into Leys Avenue, sending our craft connoisseurs to the window to give us a running report on Tuesday’s Spoons drama.

He’s in cuffs

He’s crying

He tried to take his pint back”  “No !!”


I don’t miss Letchworth, but there’s never a dull moment. We passed on a nostalgic return to Letchworth Kebabs.

The rate things are going, if we last another 25 years we won’t have pubs to choose from, let alone ones as good as Spoons or Crafty’s.


25 thoughts on “TROUBLE AT T’SPOONS

    1. What about the Spoons on Leeds train station,quite lively when Leeds are at home.
      Lloyds No1 in Hockley Nottingham has got a dance room and it featured in a list of the top 10 rough Spoons.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’ll always have CAMRA beer festivals, run by cryogenically preserved original CAMRA members in accordance with the founding principle of CAMRA – “Never mind the quality, count the beers”.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Old Thumper is a shadow of its former self. It used to have an O.G. of 1060 in Peter Austin’s time. A beautiful beer but one a teenager had to treat with caution.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I quite like these bottle shops with a couple of chairs. There’s quite a few in Leeds now, selling some excellent beers. If I had to sum them up in a few words – you really go for the beer and not the craic!


  3. 700 odd Spoons,
    That is a good amount of Spoons to do,did they all get into the GBG at some point due to Camra cosying up to Tim so they get their Spoons vouchers each year.
    I doubt it if have have done half of that amount of Spoons.


      1. No, I couldn’t possibly encroach onto Russ’s territory.
        It was just one of my rare, and not very successful, attempts at not being serious – and if it being so obviously far from the truth wasn’t obvious hopefully the exclamation marks will have explained all.


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