This Pub Taxi Business is becoming addictive. Two days after dropping BRAPA in the middle of nowhere (aka Dorset), I popped down south again to take Paul Bailey to see Jeff Bell’s new home in Rye, something I promised on a drunken evening of Tonbridge karaoke last Easter (photos lost, I hope).
Rye is the attractive little town I visited two years ago purely to get a literary blog title that went right over your heads.
In Tonbridge I took the opportunity to see how Paul is converting his own house into a “micro pub” using benches, bottles of
Stella Old Dairy and Guinness adverts.
I say “pop down” to Rye. It would be an epic journey at 6pm on Friday night in half-term week, but last week the whole journey took two hours, which is how long it takes to leave Cambridgeshire on the A14 these days.
Being a tight git we avoided a fiver’s worth of parking charges by dumping the car down a side street next to this place.
Rye has a little bit of central Durham or Bridgnorth about it, cobbled streets packed with interest if not students and pubs. We had half an hour before the Ypres Castle opened, long enough to be attacked by birds at the gate,
buy a fivers worth of mint crumbles from a sweet shop owner who was either violently pro or violently anti European Union, we were never sure. I just wanted mints.
and climb the tower of St Mary’s for the best views in Sussex.
And certainly the steepest steps.
We recovered in the pub.
A really great welcome at the bar, genuinely friendly and knowledgeable about the beer. No Harvey’s so Paul went for Old Dairy. I looked on sadly. Mrs RM had driven me here last year so I knew how good the beer was. Read Paul’s report here.
The lacings probably tell you more than that report, and I reckon it was spot temperature wise (OK, I had a sip).
Jeff turned up, whizzing around like a whirlwind, and said “Hello” and raved about the Ivy House in Nunhead, which shares some the Ypres Castle character.
By half twelve the place was filling up with gentlefolk diners and younger drinkers. Decent indie music from Whitney (the other one), and a pub for all ages.
If micropub owners want to know how to run a pub, they should come and visit here. One Old Boy even got a bit of table service, which was nice to see.
It was a struggle to get Paul to leave as he saw the keg range, but I needed chips. We popped through the Smugglers alleyway,
and found calamari and fishcake and chips in Marino’s. Grief, they were good. The birds in St Mary’s tower could smell them 300 feet away.
If this all sounds a bit gushing, sorry. It’s a lot harder to write about rubbish pubs than great ones. Ypres Castle is a great pub.