More mixed Moors tales, and more evidence that Cleveland CAMRA pick pubs for the Guide based on beer quality.  Well done them.

For a change, a really interesting Ordnance Survey extract for you too.


Starting with something not encountered for a while; the unexpectedly closed pub.

I joined several folk at the entrance of the Downe Arms, contemplating becoming a modern day Martin Luther King* and hammering a note to the door saying “What are your opening times ?”

Then I saw the dreaded “Pub Business Available” sign.


I wish the owners all the best.  The Trip Advisor page for the pub isn’t pleasant.

Below Middlesbrough is a string of some of the most attractive stone villages in the country.  I guess this is where the custom that props up the micropub and Parmo trade comes from. Great Broughton is packed with Boro OAPs.

The Bay Horse was the busiest pub of the week, one of those all day Marstons pubs paying the electric bill with a Gourmet Parmesan (£14.95) rather than halves of Black Sheep. Gourmet Parmesan looked great.

Food service stopped at 2pm”   It was 2.02pm, of course.

Just a half of Strongarm then, please

There followed a long explanation of why the Strongarm wasn’t on, and the unique qualities and flavours of the other ales, before checking which were actually on.


Which beers are actually on ?” I ventured.

The 61 Deep was, and it was great (NBSS 4).  And that’s what’s so Good about the Beer Guide; the best beers sometimes come from the least expected quarters.

The Black Swan

It was 15 minutes walk to the next pub. I made it to the Black Swan at 2.30, half an hour after they stopped serving.


You’ll have finished serving food I guess ?”

We have, but I’ll see what the chef can do

It turns out he could do pretty much anything, and rustled up a very good seafood stew to accompany my Landlord (NBSS 3,again).

That’s the attitude I like to see.

It’s an unfussy, old-fashioned dining pub with a lot of retired Cleveland gentlefolk as regular customers.


Dido and Dire Straits provided the musical accompaniment to their gentle banter centred on getting mortal in Middlesbrough (possibly 40 years ago, you feel) and fruit theft.

You never shared your grapes

Or your melon

Which makes them sound like a Happy Mondays tribute band.

In contrast to the bright lounge, a gorgeously dark public bar celebrated the ‘Boro and bawdy humour/blatant sexism.



A cheering experience, on a day when pub opening and serving times again were the bane of my pubbing life. 

Pubs can open when they like, and serve food when they like.  But we shouldn’t be surprised at the popularity of Wetherspoons, should we ?


*CAMRA in-joke.


9 thoughts on ““FOOD SERVICE STOPPED AT 2”

  1. Stopping serving food at 2pm is, to me inexplicable in this day and age (and really gets my goat!) – 3pm is a much more civilised time if you have to stop at all (and if you do have to stop, a supply of cobs/sandwiches/cold snacks should always be available!!). The Black Swan deserves high praise for their response, though.

    I haven’t come across the 2pm shut off for a while now, but a part of me isn’t surprised that ‘deepest, darkest Yorkshire’ still isn’t in the 21st Century! (Just about to embark on a canal trip, so this might come back to haunt me!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Much more of an issue for you on your boat trips, Pete. 2pm hardly gives you any leeway and tends to compress trade. Seemed common in York Moors. At least they opened at lunchtime, for now anyway.


  2. The issue with food service times is staff wages, of course. Is it really worth paying someone for the extra hour on the off-chance that some customers will turn up wanting food? And remember that the cost to the employer is considerably more than the nominal wage received by the worker.

    I’d say 12-2 lunchtime food hours are still pretty common.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right about the economic rationale, but that’s rarely the way the customer sees it, and lack of flexibility is as big an issue in Trip Advisor reviews as waiting for service.

      Strict 12-2 food hours may be more common than I think, I’ve not noticed very often myself.


      1. I wouldn’t compain about limited hours as long as they were clear. My comments are more about disappointment and surprise than complaint. Beer was superb.

        Your complaint on TA when being ignored in a restaurant is perfectly valid, a lot of whinges on TA aren’t


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