If pushed, I prefer the basic town boozer to any other pub type.  Sam Smiths places like the Boar’s Head, or the Ship in Connah’s Quay, where folk just go to chat with mates. Preferably in places with just the one cask beer you can rely on being on in good condition from 11am in the morning.

That’s a small club, both of advocates and pubs like that in the Beer Guide. I see the cover to the new GBG will feature photos of a) Trendy bar, b) Hazy thirds, c) Country pub.  They should have had the Ship on the cover.

More than one licensee has implied to me that Beer Guide inclusion depended on having more, and more “interesting” beers on. Quality first, always.

So well done to Bristol & District CAMRA for picking the King’s Arms in Kingswood, to the east of Bristol.


Kingswood is, perhaps, not an essential tourist draw for visitors to England’s centre of street art, but retiredmartin is indefatigable in his determination to find everywhere in the world preferable to Maidenhead.  Like Renfrew or Walkden, Kingswood is preferable to Maidenhead.

Last year I’d walked east along the A420 into Lawrence Hill and Redfield, providing a favourite blog title and an even more exciting cultural experience.  The step across Bristol City boundaries into Kingswood feels like the step over the A406 from East Ham into Barking.


The cultural offer drops off dramatically in Kingswood, brutalism replaces street art, and we get things called “Microdermabrasion” being done to its residents. Scary.



At the top of the High Street, the Kings Arms fills me with joy on first sight.  I doubt Mrs RM would have shared my enthusiasm for the exterior or the tiling.




I ask the treasure of a landlady for a half of the lone cask ale (£1.50) and she pulled out a pint glass.

Don’t worry.  It’s a lined glass”  she assures me.  A landlady who understands that beer tastes better in a pint glass deserves a CAMRA award.


It was a generous half.  It was a great half (NBSS 4).  Look at those suds.


It was as cheery an afternoon in a drinkers pub as you could wish for.

As always, everyone else was drinking Fosters and Natch, which I now find out is a cheap cider rather than a craft DIPA.


Proper pubs don’t have superfluous features, and the King’s Arms just has all you need for drinking and banter, bar a few choice paper cuttings (see “WORK” below).


The trip to the Gents was, alone, worth the price of admission.


A wonderful experience, capped by the “Thanks Darling” on the way out.

The Spoons next door isn’t in the Guide, but on the basis it might well be in in a month, or a year, or whenever, I thought I’d save myself another trip out on the No.43.


With letters falling off the sign and a rumbustious atmosphere, this was as basic a Spoons as I’ve been in. Full of OAPs making up for lost time (I don’t mean Quinoa salads).

As in Portishead, real cider country here.


Frankly, choice looks nice, but they could just serve Thatchers Gold here and no-one would mind.

For 2017, the ale range wasn’t bad at all, and that Butcombe (horrible new pump clip apart) was better than good (NBSS 3.5).  If CAMRA allowed such things, I’d add 0.5 for the “Thanks me darling” I got here too.



No street art, but some of the best beer and banter in Bristol.  I’m betting against a micro opening here in the next 5 years. Prove me wrong, Kingswood.


      1. Hmmm!!! Actually a few but not too many selling decent ale…pup and duckling is a micro I’ve not been too but they are falling away at a rate of knots 😵 I will try the highwood out and see how that is these days 👍

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Actually…try The Lyndon…not been there for years but was almost a local for me in my youth…. other ones that were decent and non Ember/Spoons/2for1/Sizzling/Flaming Grill/Hungry Horse etc in that vicinity were also The Highwood and The Harvester as both what you might call estate pubs that sold ale.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Another bet might be a visit to Shustoke as both The Plough and The Griffin sell (or did) decent beer. You’ve probably been to The Griffin as well established…another good bet might be The Green Man in Coleshill which is really close to NEC or The Boat in Minworth…lots of pubs still about in places like Yardley, Hodge Hill, Stetchford and Chelmsley Wood etc but none of the are really big ale pubs as more estate style lager places. The Raven in Hodge Hill is always good fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well Shustoke/Coleshill/Minworth are all good been there…) but they’re not within the Caste Bromwich area I’m thinking of, either side of Lea Hall/Marston Green stations). WhatPub shows a beer desert !


      5. It may be right! Marston Green Tavern is only boozer still around there I think? You might have to bite the bullet and take in an M&B sizzling or Greene King classic! Little Owl sells ale but always felt this was an eating place…

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Go to Balsall Common! I lived there for about ten years and the railway sells decent ale! As does brickmakers arms…ten minutes from Castle Brom Chelmsley Wood…also got Saracens Head which sells more upmarket cask I can’t have been there?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You seem to be following in my footsteps Martin,
    I went to Kingswood on the 29th July 2017 and was straight into the Chase Inn for a drink of John Smiths smooth crap,also did the Wetherspoons and waited outside the Kings Arms for it to open at 12 on a Saturday and waited and waited gave up at just after 5 past 12,it must be a proper camra pub as you never know when the pub is going to open.
    I really liked Kingswood and the Kings Centre Shopping Parade looked great,just a shame there was not a crummy 60s built pub at the end of it.
    I did all open pubs on the way down two mile hill,some quite basic,which i like.

    Are you going down to Falmouth as we have just had a week down there,i have done one blog on it and you will see what my wife thinks about top camra pubs,the Seven Stars,she refused to sit in it so we had to have a drink outside.
    My wife has also come with an idea as to how they brew crap craft beer,photo of crap craft beer coming up soon it was the worst drink we had all week and the most expensive.
    You will be able read all about it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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