BLYTHE SPIRIT

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I could tell you this was the 27th micro pub I’ve visited this Guide year, and you’d believe me. Russ wouldn’t. He’s checked and it’s the 28th.

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What an exciting place Blythe Bridge is. Home to a steam railway with a recent Beer Guide entry, one of four recent GBG entries if I generously count Catchems Corner, and the start of England’s favourite tunnel (20 years old this year).

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The marvellous Meir tunnel

OK, you’re not sold on the idea of Blythe for your holiday. Surely the Crossways, conveniently situated next to Jordan’s Hairdressers, will convince you.

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Crossways

It looks like a ’70s Stoke café before the city transformed itself so famously.

The one chap sitting by the window studiously ignored my “Hello” as I entered. You feel obliged to say “Hello” in a micro, don’t you ? You wouldn’t in a Spoons.

A much younger barman was a model of politeness, exactly the sort of politeness you hope for in NEXT but rarely get. Well done young man. Somehow, though, he wasn’t going to ask how I found myself in his micro.

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£2.80 a pint for NBSS3.5 beer,though

So I sat there with my Peakstones Pale (£2.80 a pint, NBSS 3.5+) and looked for something quirky to comment on. And failed.

And that’s a problem with micros. However good the beer, and however much you value the lack of things like noise and young people, they can be desperately quiet.

Either that or so busy with a dozen people in that there’s no seating.

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Solitude in east Stoke

My notes say “Deathly Hallows”,which I fear is neither the name of the beer or a reminder to re-read JK Rowling. I said “Bye” as I left, to no-one in particular.

NB if you want real adventure, I suggest the Golden Keg a mile away in Draycott. English and Indian food. Plum Porter and Doom Bar. Tiny Rebel and Bombardier. Wow.

25 thoughts on “BLYTHE SPIRIT

  1. I’ve been in some very good, well thought out micro-pubs with excellent well kept beers.

    I’ve also been in some crap ones – pubs on the cheap so to speak, which is what this one looks like; as you say a crap 70’s greasy spoon cafe.

    There is a big difference between someone who cares and who puts in place something of quality (that micro pub we went to in Leicester, actually both of them). Then there is someone who is just setting up a business on the cheap with no regard to ambience or quality. Looking at it I suspect they haven’t even put a new floor covering down, just erected a simple bar and thrown a mish-mash of items obtained from a furniture repository.

    It’s a serious and very current issue me thinks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. See also: Melton Mowbray (flies were dropping from the ceiling into the beer).

      It was more the lack of atmosphere in an empty micro I was commenting on, but it was very plain. But the beer was spot on and £2.80 a pint !

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      1. Absolutely right.. I often write about the Dove in Bury St Edmunds, a corner local ((owned by Greene King till recently) that is probably my favourite pub of all but generates atmosphere through chat and cheer but avoids unnecessary memorabilia. You’dl ove it.

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      2. Take payoff, get old shop cheap, add second hand tables and games, stick 3 barrels at an angle on the back bar, offer 25p discount and a pork pie launch to local CAMRA. Off you go.

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  2. “Russ wouldn’t. He’s checked and it’s the 28th.”

    Hang on, let me go and confirm that.*

    Be right back.

    Cheers

    * – that’s an excuse to go watch two episodes of The Crown with my better half. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Was really chuckling at the whole bit about “England’s favourite tunnel” (including the photo), and the line, “OK, you’re not sold on the idea of Blythe for your holiday.”

    Yeah, this particular one doesn’t exactly give the micro pub trend a good name, does it? The top photo makes it look more like a coffee shop, thrown together over a couple of weekends. Ah well, at least the beer was good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really not having a go at this place, Mark 😱, it’s just they can be deathly quiet (or terrifyingly busy).

      And I prefer places that appeal to everyone, not places that pride themselves on what they DON’T have.

      But there’s a great micro just round the corner.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s the Meir tunnel, btw, not the Mere tunnel 😛

    There used to be a massive pub on the crossroads right above it which has now been replaced by the current NHS building. I blame those NHS bean-counters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Oh dear, that’s bad, particularly since I was staring at the word “Meir” as I wrote that. Very disappointed that Russ didn’t pick that up !

      I used to smash beans on the head rather than count them 😉

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