From Masham, via Northallerton, to Darlington, retiredmartin on tour.  Unlike BRAPA, no T-Shirts or Official Soundtracks on sale. Even Mrs RM wouldn’t buy a shirt.

Darlo is my accommodation choice. A lovely town, great train services, two new GBG pubs.  And cobbled streets like these where it’s completely safe to park my car for free.

Note South Park, setting for acclaimed US TV series of the ’90s

The Dalesman is a proper basic sports pub (Magnet on keg) but the rooms are fantastic and bargain and I’m not asked difficult questions on check-in. Actually, I am asked why I’m here, and reply “I AM HERE AS A TOURIST TO YOUR LOVELY TOWN“.

A really great accommodation choice

Twenty minutes later I’m on a train whizzing past this obscure town,

Durham – “It’s not bad”

thinking I should really stop on the way back as those lovely people at the Station House have a beer festival on.

And ten minutes later I’m back on the Toon, barely a month after watching City blow their title hopes at St James Park.

Newcastle – Quite nice

As I mentioned back then, I knew I’d be returning as the two new brewery taps have both decided that Newcastle folk don’t start their drinking until Thursday.  Oddly, the two new micropubs had no such misconceptions.

Bing Maps told me it was 34 minutes to the Tyne Bank Tap along the Quayside into Byker.

Tyne Bank
34 minutes ? Pah !

Reader, I did it in 27.

Even stopped to take photos of the Castle keep, the Posada and the view down to the Free Trade (top). Newcastle never disappoints.

“Brothel creepers”

But it gets a bit messy as you get into Walker, whose most famous daughter was sadly not at home.

Cheryl Cole Cannes 2014.jpg

I’m certain Cheryl would have enjoyed the atmosphere at Tyne Bank,

It’s what’s inside that counts, as Cheryl would say

and she’s have beaten me at table football.

Wolves v Spurs

Oh no, another vast industrial estate tap filled with hipsters at weekends” you cry.


And so what if it is ?

Mr Barman was cheery and chatty and decisive when I wasn’t.

Scary beer board

Oooh. Recommend me a beer.  DON’T ask me what I like“.

I’d have the Norther Porter, I love that“.

If only all beer choices were as easy as that.

This was magnificent

I stood at the bar “oohing” and “ahhing” over the beer, cool, thick and chewy, making a mental note to rate it NBSS 4.5 when I eventually get to score up six months of pubs on WhatPub. Then I relaxed into chatting about Newcastle, folk over-indulging on strong beer,

Only 8.5%, a session beer these days

and keeping up with the changing local pub scene.

The only thing that could have improved my mood was an unexpected encounter with a famous pub blogger.  But you can’t have everything.

Oh, but you are !



      1. Don’t think she’s still Cole young Martin.
        After Cashley left the scene there were nuptials with a Mr Fernandez-Versini but that went by the wayside too.
        She may have reverted back to Tweedy for a while before some popster called Liam Payne started the old tupping business but I don’t think they’ve tied the knot yet.
        She’s certainly a game girl.
        Nice looking brewery set up – could happily spend an afternoon working my way through that list.
        When I’m back on the turps,of course.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Regarding this: “Recommend me a beer. DON’T ask me what I like” –I think I understand your general stance about this, but still, I’d love to understand why you don’t want them to know what you like prior to them recommending something. Seems to me your approach may lead to two results:

    -The recommender, not wishing to hear you say, “You must be mad, this is awful!” limits themselves to recommending something a bit tame, something that may not excite anyone but at least won’t offend anyone.

    -The recommender doesn’t give a damn what you’ll say, and recommends the one they themselves are crazy about: the Rosemary Vegemite Pumpkin-Spice Hazy IPA. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because there’s NOTHING I don’t like, Mark ;-0. If he’d recommended the squirrel and chocolate pumpkin sour IPA I’d have drunk it and thankfully. I probably wouldn’t ask the question to an 18 year old lad in a Wetherspoons, to be fair.

      I always like to be recommended something, whether it be a beer, bowl of tripe or unlistenable CD. I often ask for the Handi (staff curry) in Indian restaurants for the same reason.

      Of course, if he’s pointed me to the keg I’d have had to explain I can only drink cask on my first visit to get that tick, unlike Si who is NOT a purist.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do sense that, given the opportunity to try something you’ve never had before, you generally take that opportunity, rather than stick with the safety of the familiar.

        Didn’t realize Simon allows a pint of keg to count as a tick. This matter may need to be put before the Great Tribunal of Pub Tickers…


  2. Tyne Bank is my City local these days. The unusually exotic beer list was the aftermath of the Craft Beer Evolution event held with a few other local brewers and they usually major on their own beers with the odd guests. The staff are great. Northern Porter is superb.

    Liked by 1 person

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