A return to Newcastle-under-Lyme can mean only one thing.

Underpass street art.

Lemmy.  Underpass at Ryecroft/Liverpool Road

Folk fuss about Bristol and Manchester, but N-u-L is the place to go to see images of people you actually recognise.

A Spaniard

The tourist office (is there one ?) should do a leaflet showing these artistic high points, interspersed with Oatcake shops and micro pubs visited by Matthew Lawrenson, the town’s most famous adopted son.


Someone is bound to tell me I should have been to one of the other dozen micros that have opened since Hopwater Cellar made the 2018 Guide. So sorry, 10 Green Bottles, Thirsty Giraffe, Mellard’s Bar and Yates; see you next year.

I assume the Borough Council have recently appointed a Director of Micro Pub Development to ensure that all future ventures get listed correctly on What Pub.


I walked past the door twice, which isn’t a record, but tells you why my trip to Vision Express was a priority.  At least Hopwater is marked on WhatPub, the venerable Old Brown Jug has disappeared completely.

Anyway, the Hopwater was as described, an impressive bottle shop with seating for drinkers, who ranged from about 5 to 75.  A group of mums and toddlers was competing with a group of crafty gentlefolk to find the strongest beers.  They were spoilt for choice, as was Mrs RM.

Just the one handpump (hurrah), though perhaps a Chocolate & Fudge Porter isn’t the beer you’d choose for your lone cask.  It was from North Riding though, and therefore great (NBSS 3.5).

Chaser suggestion

I’m allergic to bottled beer, so here’s a photo of some glasses.

Glasses as art

On the plus side, just one beer, seats along the wall and beer mats.

On the downside, cushions.


I liked the feel, something akin to Glossop’s Harvey Leonards with a cosy appeal to a wider range of drinkers than your average micro (target age range 55-69).

If only I’d known before there was a Doom Bar pin badge.

Craft pin badges

The loos are decorated in the usual style.  I used to work with the President of the Eagle Fan Club (West Herts Branch).  He’d have loved this.




Anyway, enough excitement. Back to Stoke via the Mona Lisa.




7 thoughts on “MORE CASTLE, M’DUCK

  1. Satffordshire/Derbyshire Oat cakes are beautiful, fried in bacon fat – Mmmmm! Toasted with jam on – Mmmmm!

    Top beer, but as you say, but a poor choice if you’ve just got one beer on. I hate to say it but it ought to be a BBB or at least a very very good Golden ale (NB I do say very very good, rather than ubiquitous average micro pub cheap cask stuff).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No – you’re in Staffordshire, so it has to be dark. See para #32 of the Localism (Beer) Act 1842.

      Oatcakes also work for Stoke-Mex cuisine – just use anywhere you’d have tortillas.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. “A Spaniard”

    It’s the mustache, innit?

    “but tells you why my trip to Vision Express was a priority.”

    So you’re new nickname should be Retired Magoo?*

    “Chaser suggestion”

    LOL, I was thinking just that looking at the photo. 🙂

    “so here’s a photo of some glasses.”

    Saves you a trip to Vision Express then? 😉


    * – that might be a North American thing. Mr. Magoo.

    Liked by 1 person

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