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.
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 ?