No month that starts with Car Seat Headrest at End of the Road

and ends with a Slade fan being subjected to ambient weirdness at Indy Man can be deemed a disaster.  Throw in a top pint of Draught Bass and you’re smiling.

Music and beer festivals tend to eat into pub ticking, but 40 pubs from the new GBG was a decent return, if not in Pubmeister class.  Those 40 helped me finish off North West London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambs by the end of September, but tougher times are ahead.


The obvious highlight was moving my son James into digs at Sheffield University mid month.  The new Guide pubs there are nearly done but there’s plenty of scope for revisiting Beer City.

A monthly “curry and cask night with Mr Knight” slot in Alcester produced the best “black-and-white buildings against a blue sky” shot, and one of the pints of the month at the immaculate Turk’s Head.


I finally caught up with Cambridge’s own Pint & Pubs in two varying estate pubs in Arbury.  The Carlton Arms was the cheeriest lunchtime session in September; Jocelyn Brown, blokes at the bar, and a great (free) pint of Oakham JHB.

Big Sooty fans at the Carlton

It was also good to meet Boak & Bailey for a quick half in Bristol. That’s another Beer City I grow to like more by the year, though scary beer boards like the one below in the Famous Volunteer have come to symbolise the emphasis on range over quality in an increasing number of GBG pubs.


Beer of the Month – Hophead in the Midland, Hendon


No risk of excessive beer range in the Midland, a basic place serving that lone Dark Star in a pint mug, as they had no half glasses.  It was unfaultable, but I was mighty relieved to receive a similar report on quality from Sir Quinno.  When cask is this good, it’s magic.

And as you know by now, a half tastes better in a pint glass.

Another one-beer pub, the Vine in West Brom, wasn’t far off with its Golden Glow, either.

New Pubs of the Month – Dun Cow in Stevenage and Wonston Arms, Hampshire



One an estate pub (another one !) in a new town, the other a traditional village pub in affluent Watership Down country, but both great all-rounders with a universal welcome and lack of pretense (and food, interestingly).

Red mushrooms of the month – Etwall,Derbyshire



October Preview – Doing the Midlands

On Wednesday I’ll be looking for a decent pub near the Royal Albert Hall, any suggestions other than “Take a train to Stockport” welcome. Then on Saturday (7th) I have a 5.30am train to Birmingham, where I’ll  tick off Pub bloggers and GBG newbies at a similar rate.

Back to Bewdley the week after to meet our US visitors, hopefully it won’t be flooded and I can finish Worcestershire off in Kiddy.

More Midlands madness in Simon’s favourite city, Leicester, with 4 new GBG pubs and no doubt a braving of the Ale Wagon.

Still time in the month to make a return to Stourbridge, timed for the one day of the month all of their micro pubs are open on the same day.

Whether there’ll be time left to make the Isle of Wight, who knows ?





  1. Obvious choice round the RAH is the Queen’s Arms in Queen’s Gate – partly because it’s one of the few surviving pubs in that neck of the woods, and it does get busy when there’s something on at the RAH, but it’s OK. I must admit the last few times I Prommed I got my ticket for the queue and then had a picnic in one of the Imperial quads with a beer from the student bar. Cheapest beer in South Ken – and ISTR my low expectations being pleasantly surprised, but this was a few years ago now. I can play the alumnus card if necessary but noone has ever challenged me. Might be a bit different in term time.

    The other option is to go in to Lancaster Gate or Paddington, pub there and then walk across Hyde Park, which isn’t that much further than South Ken tube and rather more pleasant than the tunnel (except at night in an autumn gale). Lancaster Gate-Paddington is a rather happier hunting ground – avoid the Fullers right on the park, but there’s a decent Youngs round the corner (Googles – the Swan and Mitre respectively), with an appealing if slightly artificial-shabby dining area in the back corner, and just Ordinary and Special on cask in amongst a sea of keg.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a bit out of date on round there, but I guess property prices mean that the net stock of pubs will only go one way. I took a relative to the Bunch of Grapes just down from Harrods a while back for a post-museum pint and memory says it was fine – it’s very much geared to a high throughput of tourists doing the “authentic” fish/pie & chip experience so it’s been stripped out of all its partitions, but tourist busy-ness means at least the beer doesn’t hang around.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That photo of the lit up church is pretty nice. And I just noticed… you had a bit out of one of those Etwall mushrooms, didn’t you? πŸ™‚


    Liked by 1 person

  3. You should try some pubs that are not in the GBG,Martin,i do not have the faintest idea which pubs are in or not,but do try The Green Room close to Devonshire Square,top notch bar,decent real ale a twin deck playing 80s music and a mad landlord,i did it on a Saturday and if i take my wife to Sheffield again that will be the first place i take her to.

  4. Birmingham Bewdley Stourbridge and Leicester 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺 potential for some fantastic pubs there! If you go to the Lamp Tavern in Digbeth be sure to check out the town crier nearby…. went there last year and funniest pub I’d been to in years! Top drawer.. Also try the bull in price Street next to Gunmakers as fantastic thimble collection and decent beer!


      1. Top bloke called Mark Arnott Job who runs two towers brewery and really made an effort Indian Brewery also worth a visit nearby as is rock and roll brewhouse if open…new davenports place off Broad st is average


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