You’ll be delighted to hear that, following discussions between myself and our readers in Kent and Ireland, brokered by Kofi Annan, I have agreed to discontinue the weird “paint effect” filter.

Instead, I bring you Chepstow in black and white, which I hope you like.

Tinseltown in the rain

Actually, it looked like a black and white town in the drizzle as I emerged from the station to claim my last two Gwent ticks.

Rare appearance for the Philip Navigator

There’s some reassuring signs as you brave the drizzle and slippy streets;

Sadly, I speak Fen

As usual, I’ve tipped up a few weeks too early for the Punk weekender.

Aged well

Now, I’m ambiguous about Chepstow. Some good walks round the edges, a castle and all that, but it lacks a bit of magic and I really didn’t warm to the micropub last year (partly because it knocked the Brains pub out of the Guide).

But how can you resist a rusty old hotel with a Doom Bar parasol as a new entry ?


Astonishingly, for the second time that week, the Doom Bar was off !

A rush on the Doom Bar, the nation’s drink

I’d not seen much going on early evening; I assumed they’d all cycled off to Cardiff to celebrate Gareth Thomas’s fun ride.

But, lo, here were the Professional Drinkers turned Tour de France experts, hustled around giant TVs in the Beaufort‘s Lounge.

Man takes interest in bikes for first time

A pleasingly dull atmosphere, an obsession with the ’80s, cool Butcombe (NBSS 3+), and a tribute to Lester Piggott. What’s not to (sort of) like ?


Actually, the answer is Coldplay*. Can there be any greater hotel-clearer than “We Found Love” ?

Still, a welcome bit of variety in the Guide, and more of that at the Five Alls, a pub I must have walked past half a dozen times and thought “Oooh, that looks rough“.


Now, if there’s one thing that screams “Proper Pub” it’s this sticker on the window.


No, not the Beer Guide sticker, silly, the Level 2 hygiene rating. I’m not joking.

And inside, it’s quite wonderful, a community pub bursting with life on Sunday evening.

Most of that life was two feet tall and nearly knocked me over on the way to the bar (and made these photos a bit of a challenge), but I didn’t mind.

No, it’s not a grapefruit murky IPA

I didn’t even mind the beer choice. In fact the Bath IPA (a pint to end Gwent) was pretty stunning, but I couldn’t work out if it was NBSS 4.5 or 2.5, and I never thought I’d say that about Bath Ales.

No, this was a real cultural melting pot of a place, as the Beer Guide always says about the White Lion in Walsall.

Sunday night is clearly not a quiet night.

Lemmy !
Carefully edited photo

I sat on a high table and admired how the Five Alls had made this into a welcoming pub, catering to some folk with special needs without fuss. It reminded me a bit of the atmosphere in the Carlton Arms in Cambridge under Terri and Jethro, quite a compliment.

Finally, after a few minutes of ’50s jive, I got the jukebox to myself.


My quid bought the following;

  • Byrds – Bells of Rhymney (local interest)
  • Kane Gang – Closest Thing to Heaven (because it was)
  • BA Robertson – To Be Or Not To Be (hipster)
  • Camera Obscura – Break It To Me Gently (Tune !)
  • Mama Cass – Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Because…)

A couple of lads playing pool whispered “Who-put-this-on

Then their dads started whistling along to it. A perfect moment, but not in a Martine McCutcheon way.

And that, my friends, was Gwent 2018.


A truly great place to end.


17 thoughts on “LIPSMACKIN’ CHEPSTOW

  1. “Rare appearance for the Philip Navigator”

    Ok, this is perhaps going over the line, but is St. Pierre’s Great Woods where he hid his photos of naked ladies?

    “Sadly, I speak Fen”

    And for those that don’t like it they can add ‘bugger’ and ‘off’. 😉

    “As usual, I’ve tipped up a few weeks too early for the Punk weekender.”

    Quick tip; check with Si on stuff like that. 🙂

    “a rusty old hotel ”

    I blame the rain.

    “Astonishingly, for the second time that week, the Doom Bar was off !”

    I think you’re jinxed mate. 🙂

    “and more of that at the Five Alls,”

    I thought’d they’d misspelled ‘ales’, but then I read the sign above the door.

    “I’m not joking.”

    Obviously they’re trying hard to be a wet led pub. 🙂

    “Then their dads started whistling along to it.”


    “And that, my friends, was Gwent 2018.”

    Congrats! (thumbs up)



      1. “Point what out ?”

        “between discussion between myself and our readers in Kent and Ireland”

        Read ‘between’ the lines on the quote above. 🙄


      1. LOL!

        I think I’d made a mental note to point it out and then got all excited about some of the OS names.

        Either that or I was beside myself wondering whether I was reading too much ‘between’ the lines. 🙂



  2. Never been in the Five Alls, although I remember being struck by the unusual name very many years ago when I was barely of drinking age. Sounds great 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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