Somewhere in my photo collection there’s a picture of a bloke singing “Back for Good” at karaoke in Stamford‘s Lincolnshire Poacher*; the highlight of a Sunday night spent on Adnams, Bombardier, Mansfield and Pedigree in the fun pub.
But it was all fun pubs back in 1997, when Stamford had one of the widest range of beers anywhere in the country. And a lot of Bass (all gone now)
A fairly low incidence of karaoke in Beer Guide pubs over the year, though Burnley’s magical Bootleggers has a pole dancing pole, which is close enough. CAMRA members aren’t known for their liking of singing and dancing, or any fun, in their pubs.
We arrived in Stamford as the heavens opened.
Miraculously, there was a space perfectly designed for our campervan opposite the George, saving us a whopping £205 on Booking.com rates. I love the way a campervan allows you to stay in posh towns for free.
We crossed the bridge and Mrs RM made a dash for the nearest pub while I dithered in the rain.
The town was still in clear-up mode after the chaotic visit of Polly the Tyke on the Thursday.
Luckily Mrs RM and I are a more refined type of visitor, and we fitted in well in the Golden Fleece.
Sunday night is karaoke night, and it was heaving.
I’d forgotten I can post video clips on here. You’ll enjoy this;
More for the head on the Tiger than the Atomic Kitten, perhaps.
A few too many children drinking Panda Pops for some of you, but it made a great atmosphere.
Mrs RM found the corner table, as much so we can drip quietly as to avoid being dragged up to sing “Tiger Feet” or “Up Where We Belong“. With a bloke in a Leeds ’74 shirt and a succession of T-Rex classics it was clear that the Fleece was getting the 50-somethings away from the telly on Sunday night.
The beer ranged from NBSS 2.5 (Tiger) to NBSS 3.5 (Millstone and Old Original), all pints beautifully and cheerfully served. But of course the cask is secondary here.
We got chatting to a couple opposite us, noting how good it was to see a place thriving on a Sunday night (contrast with this). They turned out to be the entrepreneurial owners, and clearly know how to run a pub (or two of them in their case).
Mrs RM downloaded the Shazam App to try and identify what song was being sung.
If you examine the picture at the top closely you’ll no do doubt realise the track was “Chasing Cars” from the arms in the air.
“Light up, light up” was the cue for the smokers to go outside for a fag in the rain, and us to head for tea.
Letting Mrs RM choose the pubs is rarely a bad idea, and of course there’s no new GBG ticks for me here. But Cosy Club was another new pub, nonetheless.
I know; it’s a restaurant. There is a bar, but you’re directed to a table where you’re given a menu with the beers on. I went to investigate and felt like a naughty schoolboy.
The cask is always a gamble in places like this, but the craft didn’t jump off the page. Perhaps the two Grainstore beers weren’t quite GBG standard but certainly cool and well presented. It was the only cask I saw pulled the hour we were there, and there was a decent Sunday evening trade.
The food was superb, the fellow diners were posh, and the music was ambient. And then there’s the toilets…
The “porn” in the Gents disgusted me, but not in the way you might imagine. That’s no way to hold a teddy bear, Miss.
Mrs RM was disappointed to find nothing of note in the Ladies.
One more trip through the drizzle for Mrs RM to suffer.
And at last a GBG pub, the longstanding Green Man.
It seemed to have lost a bit of its old character, feeling rather barebones and club like, but still had a decent mixed crowd. Just a more subdued atmosphere.
But, despite the IPA pump, the beer range and quality seemed as good as ever, the Stoneyford a solid NBSS 3.5.
And that was it. Next time we’ll overdose on pizza in the Tobie Norris.
The kindly Stamford Council gave us free parking ’till 10am on Monday, enough time to enjoy our smashed avocado bagel for breakfast in Spoons.
Sadly, no 9am drinkers in Stamford, even with this range.
*I’ll add that image to this post when it turns up, probably buried amongst my collection of “Opening Times”