Boak & Bailey ask today how you’d respond to a request from a stranger for local pub recommendations.
The obvious answer is, of course, go in the pub with mobility scooters outside. Unless it has Arsenal livery.
Last year in Ipswich, Mrs RM and I found a pub scene apparently in the throes of craft frenzy.
Much of the Ipswich revitalisation has been down by the river, though sadly that hasn’t saved the Brewery Tap from closure.
The glitzy pizzerias and boutique hotels by the University are a far cry from the basic stretch of riverside on the left bank, where hides the sole new Ipswich GBG entry.
WhatPub shows that the Steamboat Tavern is a bit of an outlier.
But it still looks a fairly modernised place, and I was expecting something akin to the trendy bars of Deptford (Sunderland, not SE London).
But mobility scooters and smokers outside, Sooty, “unimproved” décor and Hi-Vis jackets at the bar revealed this as a “Workings mans’ pub” of GBG’74 legend.
The sort of pub that CAMRA members are thought to avoid like the plague, to use the other GBG’74 reference.
At 4pm there was a cracking boozy atmosphere, and enough pints of cask being pulled that I felt confident enough to ask the bloke in a blazer what the attractive beer he had was called.
I was glad it was the Earl Soham Gold, a beer I had a rather disastrous experience with recently.
This was terrific. Cellar cool, rich and full, a clear NBSS 3.5. Nice foamy head too, and none of your Adnams glass atrocities.
So, what do blokes talk about at 4pm in a riverside Ipswich local over pints of Camden Pale ?
DIY (or Don’t Involve Yourself, to me and Mrs RM), mainly. Especially painter sealant.
There was a tremendous amount of chat, much of it that would have contravened Humphrey Smith’s standards. But all very good-natured. It was the grim silence between the husband and wife on the table opposite that scared me.
Musical accompaniment from Survivor and Supergrass (possibly supergroup there)but this was better than “It’s Alright“.
A great find, and confirmation 4pm really is the golden hour in pubs.
Interesting toilets. too.