I intrude quite literally onto LifeAfterFootball territory here, with a couple of Midlands pubs within a cultured Ian Clarkson hoof* of the old Stoke City ground when he donned the famous red and white jersey.


Stoke, the town rather than the city, is a convenient train ride from Manchester, which meant I didn’t need to stay at the North Staffs Hotel to do these. That’s the wise move, even though that establishment is charging £27 on Sundays and has these toilets.

Best thing about the North Staffs

First up is the inevitable, and slightly overdue, Stoke micro pub, on a road I’ve only previously ventured down for the cheapest Chinese takeaways in the UK.

Name says it all

Actually I only call London Road Ale House because of the usual giveaways;

  • Limited opening hours (no that bad)
  • Shop conversion
  • “Ale” in the name
  • Unisex toilet

But actually it’s just a pub with a focus on good beer. Which sounds a bit dull.

Oh joy, a back board with keg taps

Being Stoke, it wasn’t dull.  Only the dogs looked bored, anyway.

What is it with micros and dogs ?

It’s a mix of very high tables, low tables, long tables and bench seats that works well, and clearly attracts a good mix of Stoke life.  The chat was all about roadworks, shopping and Mark Hughes, the three most exciting things in the Potteries until the craft invasion.

Why did I choose the high tables

Never turn down the chance of a Tiny Rebel Stay Puft, folks (NBSS 3.5). Or a chance to hear some plaintive blues from this bloke if he tips up in your local.  He’s no Mark E Smith though.

Proper music

Before you ask, yes, I did lock the door. 


*If you’re wondering how long I can drag this analogy on for, the answer is a long time. And certainly until the next post.




    1. But no more irrelevant than that the last time I was at the North Staffs Hotel was the only time I’ve been to the North Staffs Rail Promotion Group, well meaning old folk going on about what a big town Newcastle under Lyme is to not have a railway station and wouldn’t it be nice if the Potteries had some of those tram things like they’ve got in Manchester and Sheffield.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. “What is it with micros and dogs ?”

    Because the “proper” pubs have nicked all the cats? 😉

    “within a cultured Ian Clarkson hoof*”

    Is that like “David Beckham’s left foot; David Beckham’s right foot”? 🙂

    “The chat was all about roadworks, shopping and Mark Hughes,”

    What? No chat about our Ian? Feh.

    “Before you ask, yes, I did lock the door. ”

    Pfft. Try some of the Cafes in France. Took my dear old mum to visit my brother there a few years back. Escorted her to the loo and we had to walk past an old bloke doing his business in a urinal!


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm.

        Since I live I’m half French (Canadian)? 😋

        But it’s more because my brother has been living there for over 25 years (he was born in the UK by the way). And he’s been living there thanks to… l’affair L’Amour, so to speak. 😍😉



  2. Is that person in the “why did I choose the high tables” photo wearing an outfit that has skeleton bones printed on it? You have enormous self control, Martin– Simon would’ve devoted a full paragraph to mercilessly mocking that one! 😉


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