Nearly finished my January posts now; then I can do one of those big “State of the Spreadsheet” posts showing just how far behind Pubmeister I really am.

Last up in Dryanuary was a Tuesday night in Newcastle to watch Citeh take their customary 3 points from St. James Park.

Throughout the day the BBC had been warning of six foot snowdrifts while the Express had declared a new ice age. I made my usual overnight parking space in Gateshead in a mere 3hrs 35 from Cambridge, slowing down only at Elkesley.


I assume Geordies still complain about it, but public transport in Tyne & Wear is designed for the pub ticker.

Whickham looks remote on the Navigator, but is only half an hour from the Metro Centre. I’ve walked to Blaydon and Swalwell from the best of the giant shopping centres, which used to have a Spoons with free children’s meals. Not much good if you’re 54.

Whickham is, in contrast to Blaydon or Dunston, one of the gentrified Newcastle suburbs. OK, I doubt their Premiership footballers (none of whom I could name at gunpoint) would pick it over Ponteland, but I definitely counted two pashminas.

Only now, reading a scant Wiki entry, do I realise that this is a town bigger than venerable Hexham and Corbridge combined . Grief. There’s a few solid pubs along Front Street, but of course the first GBG entry in my ticking life is a micro.

The One Eyed Stag is tucked, Bourne End like, into a little run of functional shops called the Square. Curry on the right, betting shop to the left. I assume Martin Rankin is where you find out who the best Martin is; I’m happy being just behind Luther.

Perfectly placed

Truth is, it took me 5 minutes hunting behind the back of the Best Western and the Gold Spice bins to find it.

But it was open. At lunchtime ! Like its near-neighbour in Prudhoe, a bright, cheery place, if a bit more neighbourhood bar than beer house.

Upmarket micros taking over

Only one young couple for company, celebrating either Dryanuary or their house valuation, it was hard to tell.

The nice barperson said she’d bring my half of Citra something over to me. I prefer to pay at the bar if I’m honest.

Local beer apparently

This was my view as I perched by the window seat, where I clumsily folded up a copy of Ullage so I could stick it in with the Canny Bevvies.

Seating may be controversial

Yes, high tables or low sofas, the real issue of 2019. Still, cosier than most micros.

Decent lacings, cool and tasty beer, if a bit sharp in that way that microbrew often is, (he says , like he knows what he’s talking about). 

Seen worse lacings

Lots of whispering going on, Si would have decoded it. I gave up.

Outside I bumped into a Geordie with non-hipster beard and black and white scarf who reminded me of my History teacher from Cottenham Village College.

Scuse me pet, d’you know wher the One Eyed Stag is

See, not just me who can’t find micros.

Be kind on us tonight” he pleaded.

Ho ho.

18 thoughts on “MAGPIES IN THE MICROS

  1. It’s right on the main road! Maybe your expert navigational skills were distracted by a tear in your eye after St James Park. Love the build up to the spreadsheet. As I’m going nowhere fast in this weather I might even post one myself.


    1. The world awaits your Pub Pilgrim’s Progress. I’m on a short break from new pubs (they’re not pubs in Paris, are they ?), Simon is doing six this Saturday. Slightly jealous at some of the pubs he still has to do for the First Time, as Robin Beck sang.

      The Whickham tick was before the match ;-0 It was drizzling though, and Google Maps lady was directing me left, behind the bins (as it were). The Mags chap made exactly the same mistake !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “walked to Blaydon” – and I thought you would have raced there !

    Proper signage at THE ONE EYED STAG is the sign of “Upmarket micros taking over” but surely they could have managed a colour contrast better than cream on cream.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve tried to think up apposite ones for celebrated brews, but I can’t better the age-old one for Shipstone’s – “Honest Piss”.

        There’s not much scope with Bass really, is there?


      2. The best for a brew that I could manage was “Er, get more and p*ss”

        You won’t have a problem, somehow, I don’t think Paul.


  3. We went there after lunch in Spoons down the road a few months ago. We were the only people in for most of it. Preferred the Spoons, and the beer was better ‘cos there were people drinking it!

    GNEB is what rose from the ashes of the much lamented Jarrow Brewery – they have the brands including Rivet Catcher, but the beer isn’t anywhere near the same IME sadly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Can’t keep up with Jarrow. The Maltings in South Shields was a great modernised pub and Rivet lovely. Like Mordue’s Workie Ticket brewing distinctive beer is no guarantee of success and regular sales.

      I remember the Whickham Spoons now, nice old pub a bit like their Horseshoe in Crook.


  4. “showing just how far behind Pubmeister I really am.”

    Or how far ahead of Si you are. 🙂

    “Throughout the day the BBC had been warning of six foot snowdrifts while the Express had declared a new ice age.”

    I think they were getting confused with weather in parts of North America. 😉

    “Not much good if you’re 54.”

    You’re not up on the latest fad of ‘self identifying’ are you?

    “I assume Martin Rankin is where you find out who the best Martin is”

    Since it’s a Funeral Director I’d say you would NOT want to be at the top of their list. 🙂

    “Upmarket micros taking over”

    The seating at the top against the wall looks like it was one of the very first mobility scooters. 🙂

    “Seating may be controversial”

    From the photo it looks like you’re on a cushion Japanese style.

    “Yes, high tables or low sofas,”

    Ah. Explains my comment above.

    ““Scuse me pet, d’you know wher the One Eyed Stag is””

    I may have been tempted to reply “not sure, but I’ll keep an ‘eye’ out”. (har har)



      1. Thousand of kilometres away at me mum’s house in Brampton. 🙂

        But rumour has it we’ll be getting a dusting of the white stuff Sunday afternoon. But it will be above freezing come Tuesday afternoon. 🙂


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