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.

A castle

The “Closed” signs were a hammer blow to our plans, the equivalent of finding a Wetherspoon shut at 9am.

We were quite keen to meet Chris, jovial landlord of the Station House , our GBG target for the night.  But the Northern Trains strikes were playing havoc with his journey too, and plans unravelled.

I fancied a pint, but Mrs RM was full up of 6% beer in Northallerton, and we wandered aimlessly.

A statue

And headed for the Market Tavern, only to discover that Suffolk’s finest had got its hands on it.

Bury St Edmunds world takeover continues

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.

Underneath the arches
Station House

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.

Can’t decide ? That’s me.

Or you can guess from the barrels.

Beer barrels. Not Black Iris

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.

Beer mats

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.

Even do their own T-shirts

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.





  1. “A castle”

    I have to admit Martin, you take good photos of lit up buildings after dark.

    “Underneath the arches”

    They need to realign the lighting. All I could read was “T TAT HOUSE”. 😉

    “Can’t decide ? That’s me.”

    But you can’t abide tasters! 🙂

    “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.”

    Interesting that (along with the Half Moon being jammed to the rafters). Had a similar experience in Nanaimo Friday night. Had to come back from Victoria on Friday instead of Saturday as yet another of my wife’s relatives was coming for a visit before noon Saturday after a 22 hour ferry ride. Anyway, we stopped halfway home at the Longwood Brewpub in Nanaimo around 6pm Friday and it was a zoo! It was so crowded and so noisy I only had a 12oz IPA before we got back on the road. I usually go there once a month when I’m in town for work (usually around 2pm weekdays) and the atmosphere is so much nicer at that time.

    So while being completely empty isn’t a good thing, being completely crowded isn’t a good thing either. 😉


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen various comments that the Swan & Three Cygnets doesn’t seem to work in that location, and is often empty. The essential Sam’s pub in Durham is of course the Colpitts Hotel.

    Had good Bass in the Half Moon a couple of years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Am very behind due to holiday followed by a business trip, but glad you liked it! Jigsaw complete and on to the next one now. Numbers so far suggest people have forgotten it’s January…

    Sorry we missed you, a shame you didn’t miss the next bus. Better let us know next time you’re heading up!

    For the record, Susie the Landlady is the Boss and I’m occasionally allowed to help! Also for the record, we did have a cask of Bass and we were very disappointed with it – any cellaring tips for said beer welcome!



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