The blog titles don’t get any better from now till Christmas, when I should receive some new ones from Santa.
On to the Crown & Cushion, a rare old-fashioned small hotel bar in the Guide, in the resolutely old-fashioned Chipping Norton, which I often write as Chipping Sodbury to annoy them both.
An easy Chipping mistake to make; with Sodbury immortalised by John Cale and Norton’s new entry once run by Keith Moon, famed hotel wrecker.
I failed to spot any local celebrities in Chipping Norton’s High Street on a drizzly Saturday, but plenty of other “Cotswolds Bingo” opportunities on display with pashminas, Barbour and blokes “off to Twickers“.
Lunch from the venerable Nash’s Bakery; quiche and Banbury tart of course.
Approaching the Crown & Cushion from the back gives an impression of a slightly careworn independent hotel surviving on repeat booking from Gentlefolk and Americans.
And the hotel bar sign reminds me a bit of This & That in the Manchester back streets.
I expected a dining room full of elderly couples dithering over menus, but instead I got this;
Yes, they’re sitting at the bar, watching television on their mobile phones. Yes, that meant I couldn’t see the pumps. But fluorescent jackets are surely second only to a mobility scooter as a sign of a proper pub.
I made space next to the gent above, and then I noticed them. Bass glasses.
“It’s luvverly the Bass“, said the chatty Bass drinker, pointing to the keg Bass font.
So I couldn’t have the Bass (rules, rules) and had to settle for the local ale.
The Hooky was served in one of those ancient Beer Festival style tankards too, but it must suit the beer, as this was a cool, smooth and creamy NBSS 4.
I took to the pub, with its sense of being a centre of small-town drinking, with cheap (by Oxon standards) food, and unashamed Keith Moon memorabilia.
Another year, another new Guide entry for this Norton, but I’ll bet it’s a while before a micro (“Cameron’s CASK” ?) pops up here.