More from Matthew shortly.
I started Friday afternoon in Lancaster, always a curate’s egg with its attractive architecture but strangely unalluring pubs (and below average beer quality). It’s a town that always seems miffed that it’s not as hip as lovely Morecambe.
Still, it’s Christmas, gotta be some entertainment ?
Matthew would undoubtedly have appreciated the font at the Lion.
Well, it just goes to show; there’s been plenty of life outside the Guide. The Lion is as homely an all-rounder as you could hope for among the gastro drabness of Lancaster.
There were lady gentlefolk on their own, there were Old Boys reading the papers, and a few youngsters. A community pub, no less. There was even a lady ordering drinks by instalments (it being Christmas) and a professional complainer.
“There’s no cucumber ! And you promised cucumber !” You’ll have to guess the context of that one yourself.
’70s soul and even older tat. Disappointingly, Nell & Gwynne turned out to be a cover band of the 1650s original.
In fact, it has everything you’d want. Except great cask. A half of Butcombe (hurrah !) looked the part but had that undercurrent of fizz you get in slow-moving beer. Not bad, but disappointing (NBSS 2).
Even the wonderful fire couldn’t quite improve the beer.
Still, a little gem, and possibly the place I’d while away an afternoon with a pint of Guinness.
Five minutes up the hill, it was back to high table gastro-land at the Brittania, as you may guess from the sign alone.
I was beaten to the bar by the classic “Indecisive mixed group“, though the bloke of the group was desperate for me to go first. With good reason, as I found out soon enough.
“Oooh, I’ll have a cheeky Prosecco !!!” One giggled.
“I love it when the cork pops !!!!!!” Don’t we all.
The chap studied the bizarre looking beers intently for an age, before settling on the German lager in preference to the local keg.
High tables, a bar smelling of spicy food, staff in waistcoats, “Baker Street“, polite society at its very worst.
But it’s saved, a bit, by only having one beer on. A local beer, unfortunately, but a good one, a cool NBSS 3.
No beer mats, much too common, so of course I spilt the beer from my jug on the high table, another Idles inspired act of defiance by retiredmartin.
As a cheapskate, I’d bought a cheap day return for TransPennine trains only, so I had to make a dash back to the station to avoid an hour that would no doubt have been spent in the Borough wondering how a pub that gives CAMRA members a whole quid a pint discount ISN’T in the Guide.
I texted Matthew “Nothing to see here, see you in Preston”
*I should make the point that the Virgin Trains assistant commended me on the clarity of my diction in ordering a return to Lancaster, in sharp contrast with the rude B&B owner who took the mick out of my Fenland vowels.