TOP 100 PUBS – BARRELS, HEREFORD

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Yes, No.288 in my Top 100 series. So sue me.

A third visit here in ten years, and heaving every time.  Given what I wrote last time about how quiet Hereford was on Thursday night, that probably says it all.

To be honest, it was never a good idea to finish at Barrels, after two pints and a cider/Gin & Tonic, but at least Mrs RM didn’t attempt to ride the bull this time as we wobbled serenely there via the town centre.

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Don’t ride the bull

Hereford may be short on great pubs, but it’s strong on empty fun pubs with flashing lights. Perhaps it aspires to be the Skegness of the Marches ?

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Actually, the Skeggy analogy isn’t completely far-fetched.  I was trying to think of a pub that dominates a town as much as Barrels, and the Vine came to mind.

There must have been 50 folk of all ages in the cobbled courtyard, and as many in the cluster of inside rooms. That’s a quiet night here.

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Cobbles to you

It’s not the architecture that define Barrels, but it is still a bit special.  You could choose from at least eight different drinking areas if you were trying to avoid someone, which is something you don’t get in a micropub (though Beer in Hand is actually excellent).

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“I’ll have a Gin & Tonic“, shouted Mrs RM as she set off for the extremities, presumably in the hope of the best WiFi. One chap seemed to have found the perfect spot for an extended Skype conversation, or else he thought he was performing for BRAPA.  All human life (of legal drinking age) was here.

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dav

I bravely contemplated my return from Weston’s to Wye Valley…

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Note barman testing his own beer

Now you may wonder what’s so special about a place selling the full range of a family brewer’s beer in top condition, and not much else, to a happy group of locals*.  Well that combination was enough to enough to make Stockport’s Nursery the national Pub of the Year before CAMRA branches decided that masses of choice was what was needed.

The Butty Bach was a 4, the rarely seen Stout was even better, and if I hadn’t seen this one,

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I might have worked through the range, except that “last orders” had been called.  I can’t remember the last time I heard “last orders” called.  Perhaps Dick and Dave can.

NEVER pass up Robinsons cider, folks.  Even when you really should.

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Cider with a stout chaser

Yer beer is sensational“,  I said, as I wobbled out.  “Thanks Chief

I felt superfine in the morning.  Honest.

 

*Mark and LifeAfterFootball would have loved the soundtrack, moving s

 

 

19 thoughts on “TOP 100 PUBS – BARRELS, HEREFORD

    1. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but he was basically repeating “Darling” “Sweetie pie” to his family over and over while doing hand gestures at 11.20pm in a Hereford boozer while “Three Minute Hero” romped along in the background…

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      1. We couldn’t quite believe it, Simon would have been in BRAPA heaven. As you’ll be aware, I guess, it’s normal to Skype your wife from your hotel rather than the bar of a noisy pub 😉

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  1. “NEVER pass up Robinsons cider, folks. Even when you really should.” –Ha! This sounds like the ‘I had one or two more than I probably should have’ type of evening that one might possibly regret a bit the next day, but years later have absolutely no regrets about whatsoever. 🙂

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  2. The RM Top 100, and maybe I should say sadly, is one of the highlights of my life. Well done. And we never last that late… We start too early, drink pints and have jet lag. A sad combination of things that prevents late night drinking.

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  3. I wrote about the Barrels back in 2011, making the point that the business of pubs had become much more weather-dependent than it had been before July 2007. On a sunny Monday night, the courtyard was rammed with mixed groups of smokers and non-smokers. Had it been raining, most of them wouldn’t have been inside the pub, they wouldn’t have been there at all. Agreed it’s a great pub with a great atmosphere.

    In that area it’s also worth taking a look inside the Victory for its bar in the shape of a galleon.

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    1. As you wrote at the time, great all-ages atmosphere and an antidote to the “Beer House”. I guess the atmosphere in the courtyard is key to the overall feel of the pub; I’m sure even in cooler weather it’s been busy. Oh, and beer is still cheap.

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    2. Well, yes, the Victory is a proper theme pub, not like those half hearted ones that have pictures of ships on the walls and a lifebelt hanging from the ceiling.

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      1. But then there was a proper narrow boat in the Dry Dock pub at Netherton and now there’s a proper canal in the Canalhouse at Nottingham.

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      2. – and not forgetting the Charters pub in Peterborough that is a proper Dutch boat,
        and I think on the Thames in London over forty years ago the Old Caledonia was a pub boat.

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  4. Maybe Hereford should borrow a few pubs from the next county town, Worcester.
    It’s not fair that Hereford has just one pub worth going to but Worcester has several.

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  5. The Barrels has been the jewel in Herefords crown for as long as I’ve been visiting the town. The other pub I always try to get to is the Volunteer (http://pub-games.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-volunteer-hereford.html?m=1), and the other Wye Valley pub The Vaga Tavern is good. If your not fussed about the beer, the Herdsman and Golden Lion are both proper locals pubs, rare enough these days, but all these have skittle alleys, and most a Quoits Board too if you fancy a chuck.

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