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,
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 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.