An overnight stop in Chester-le-Street, chosen only because every hotel with running water in Durham itself cost over £100, and Mrs RM wasn’t prepared to sleep in the car.
I do like the town, though the Beer Guide pickings are meagre, and if I ever get up here for cricket at the Riverside I’ll give you a review of the back-to-basics Butcher’s Arms.
The Lambton Worm calls itself “boutique“, which means it has tiny rooms. Luckily we pack light and only care about WiFi and bedside sockets.
There’s a big grumpy dog to greet us. Obviously a Sunderland fan. (STOP PRESS: A week later all is well with the Black Cats).
The Sonnet 43 “brew pubs” are a bit boutique as well, obviously aimed at the affluent professionals from Birtley and Billy Row, but with some sort of half-price deal they’d instead cornered the family dining market.
It’s very dark.
That means I can’t read the pumpclips, but since we get a couple of pints thrown in free with the booking I’m not that fussed if they’re not the strongest ones (they are).
The beers are competently kept homebrew, in that irritating Brewhouse & Kitchen way. I’d say slightly “chewy” but I’ve no idea what I’m talking about. BRAPA is your beer bore.
Booths rather than benches, Laura Ashley sofas, dangling lights you stoop to avoid. It’s a pleasant dining experience, I’m sure, but we need to head into Durham for chips.
Once again, the Northern Rail strike scuppers our train, and we end up on the exciting local bus.
Sockets, games, WiFi and some in-house entertainment at the back of the bus courtesy of the Street’s lads and lasses. All for a fiver (yes, that’s exhorbitant).
Next up. A micropub in Durham, I know Chris can hardly wait.