The big news in Durham is the closure of Bella Pasta, or whatever it was called this year.
This was the poshest place we’d ever been to when we first visited the city in ’96, memorable for the £12.99 chocolate fondue and the view of the castle.
The “Closed” signs were a hammer blow to our plans, the equivalent of finding a Wetherspoon shut at 9am.
I fancied a pint, but Mrs RM was full up of 6% beer in Northallerton, and we wandered aimlessly.
And headed for the Market Tavern, only to discover that Suffolk’s finest had got its hands on it.
I would have had a pint, it wasn’t that bad a range, but there were no seats at all and the swearing levels would have sent Humphrey into a fit.
Interestingly, the Sam Smiths pub on Elvet Bridge looked the quietest of the night. An attempt at a pint of Bass in the Half Moon was also foiled by weight of numbers (again, mostly blokes in their 20s).
Despite the trencherman lunch in Northallerton, we decided we must be getting hungry and had some tapas near the bridge that rather divided opinion. It must have been authentic tapas though; they had Punk IPA in bottles.
I’d never seen Durham so busy. Students may have returned that week, but surely that can’t account for the busiest Friday night I’d seen in months.
Onwards to the micro.
The Station House was quite a contrast to the Durham (meat) market place. Packed when we went in, but with a calmer atmosphere that no doubt heats up when the arguments over who hid the last jigsaw piece start.
Very civilised, reminding me of Cambridge’s Mill Road classics like the Live and the Blue.
But also very beery. Note it’s all pints above.
Too busy for shots at the bar, so here’s the handy beer list. Any list with Brass Castle on it can’t be bad.
Or you can guess from the barrels.
Mrs RM found the hidden upstairs room, also packed, which helped with atmospheric shots.
Some proper seating upstairs too, with great views of the bus we were about to miss.
The beer was superb; it helps when nearly everyone is drinking the cask. No idea what it was but it’s the top one below, possibly Allendale. The folk at the bar did tell me but I forget stuff about beer.
Large groups came and went in the 20 minutes we were there, so I can’t say the Station House isn’t part of the circuit.
But they could only really improve it by adding Bass as a permanent beer.