‘Twas the night before Black Eye Friday, when all through Barnsley,

Not a South Yorkshireman was stirring, even in the Funky Buddha.*


A short break from strict the chronology you love to bring you highlights of last night’s entertainment on a wet Thursday in Barnsley.


God’s Own Country (Div 3 South)


Not my first Thursday in Barnsley, a place I’ve always found reasonable competition for Middlesbrough and Nuneaton in the “inadvisable drunken behaviour on a schoolnight” stakes.

But not last night. I presume they were all saving themselves up for Black Eye Friday.

A rare night in a Travelodge, the one in Stairfoot that is actually so far out of town it’s in Denmark.  Mrs RM and I stayed here on New Years Eve 1993, which shows I know how to treat a special lady etc etc.

Only now, 25 years later, does it occur to me I made her walk 2 miles in the snow as I’m too stingy to ever use a taxi.

I’m sure we popped in the Dove for a loo stop back then, as it’s the only pub you pass on the way in. A classic Old Mill exuberant boozer.

The Dove, Barnsley.  Note nosey Ted

At least on foot in the driving sleet you get to see the street art;

Proper street art – looks like a bloke

But you tend to get very lost around the car parks behind the markets when you take the wrong underpass.

Proper market sign

You’ll know how I promote our “Cinderella” towns, but Barnsley looked very tired and a bit scary last night. Rejuvenation, as always, is on the way.

Rejuvenation deferred

The pubs in the Beer Guide are pretty much the ones I remember from 2011, when No.7 opened, so the Guide newbie is what they call “a welcome addition“.

Barnsley WhatPub.PNG
Quality beats quantity in Barnsley
The Arcade, down a nice Arcade

If you want to see an excellently stereotypical micro pub, the Arcade Alehouse is it.

The photos below and the top contain the entirety of the customers at 9pm.


Ten blokes drinking ale (mainly halves).  Both pints pulled in the fifteen minutes I was there were that excellent Bradfield Belgian Blue.  Beer range and quality, unfaultable.

You again !
Looks weird, tastes an NBSS 4

Ten customers and no seats, just like at those horrible beer festivals that are killing pubs, so I stood at the bar.  Upstairs, this lovely room.

Nice room, just the one unisex loo

Of course, I wasn’t going upstairs because, as you’ll know, no-one wants to sit upstairs on their own when all the fun (or whatever counts for fun in a micro pub) is going on.

Great beer, nice people, one to come to with your mates and a pub cat.

I thought I’d better find some authentic Barnsley nightlife, but the streets were dead.  As was this endangered species, the Australian pub.

Not a Walkabout ?

The Town Hall looked as gorgeous as ever, but where are the ill-dressed teens dangling off the Christmas tree ?

Barnsley Town Hall

Even the Spoons looked emptier than in Newbury in Dryanuary.

I was then alerted to the revelation that Question Time was coming from the Civic, right next door to the Arcade. Having bumped into an outside broadcast vehicle on the way in, perhaps I should have guessed.

On the way to Pitt St

So I headed up Pitt Street to the Conservative Club (marked with a green C on the WhatPub extract) to see if I could get Isabel Oakeshott‘s autograph for Mrs RM.

They wouldn’t let me in

Armed with my gold CAMRA card and some spiel about testing their beer, I rang the buzzer a couple of times, but they ignored me, and clearly Isabel had already popped in for a pint of the Wobbly Bob that got this classic club in the Guide recently.

So, all quiet in the party town As we’ll see tomorrow, there was one exception.



*For North American readers, Black Eye Friday named after the Friday before Christmas when folk drink a little too much and fall over near a Burger King, according to some secret Daily Mail footage from 2001.

**If you want poetry you’ll need to read BRAPA.


      1. We give you credit for the roundabout which oddly enough was a US invention. We just waited 80 years to start implementing it. You also built those iron bridges first I believe. IPA ended up a US invention too if you listen to the local chatter.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. “The Arcade, down a nice Arcade”

    They nicked that “fake sky” look from Vegas didn’t they?

    “*For North American readers, Black Eye Friday named after the Friday before Christmas ”

    Surely next Friday, the 22nd, is Black Eye Friday? 🙂


    PS – That woman in the first photo with that pink monstrosity should have dyed her hair to match!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok, that makes sense.

        And the 22nd? You’re six (calendar)* days older than me! 🎂


        * – not sure about the actual years 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Wow ! Happy birthday for tomorrow Russ, whenever it is.”

        Thanks, but… you have it backwards*; my birthday is six days later than yours (28th). 😉


        * – my wife was like that with time zones when she flew for a few years. Always adding the time difference instead of subtracting (or vice versa) thus she was always calling me in the middle of the night. 😋


      3. “she was always calling me in the middle of the night”
        I think you’ll find there may be other reasons why a wife might call her husband in the middle of the night when he’s in a different continent.


    1. “I think you’ll find there may be other reasons why a wife might call her husband in the middle of the night when he’s in a different continent.”

      Which is why I made sure the phone was on my side of the bed. (kidding!) 🙂


      PS – And whatever happened to goose/gander, i.e. good for? (kidding!) 🙂


    1. All the seats were taken, six round two tables and a couple on another, with a couple of seats on the side wall. Some of these micros are smaller than an average Surrey dinner party, and serve less alcohol in an evening !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I happen to know Isabel didn’t hang around after Question Time.
    According to her Twitter feed ( there’s something about dreamy Home Counties girls that gets to me ) she shared a car back to London with Professor Robert Winston.
    I wonder if he tried it on ? I know one Professor who would have.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never heard it called Black Eye Friday? Maybe that’s some self inflicted custom they have in Cambridgeshire?Black Friday is defo next Friday 22nd Dec, although it’s difficult working it out when Christmas day is on a Monday and offices, factories, construction all close down on different days. The upshot being you don’t really get a Black Friday, just a series of busy nights rather than a single apocalypse, which is better for hard pressed emergency services.

    There used to be a cracking toy shop on the right of your photo of the arcade. Highlight of every boyhood shopping trip into Barnsley! Old No 7 used to be a regular haunt, there was a big punk scene downstairs, upstairs was normal, for Barnsley. In reality it used to be like the wild west every Friday & Saturday night.

    Liked by 1 person

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