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