WARNING: Contains trip to Stockton-on-Tees without a visit here;


No banked Bass, but another day to admire the ongoing revitalisation of Darlington’s hitherto scruffy sister.

Goodness me, Stockton is scrubbing up well.

Obtrusive yellow car

The big project is the refurb of the Globe Theatre, which once played host to the Beatles in the days before Lennon switched a pint of Bass in the Sun for Higsons in the Phil.

Well done Stockton Borough Council

I see the big hotel chains are already swooping in with ambitiously priced bed/theatre/Bass weekend deals that used to be the minstay of the original and much-missed Darlington-Stockton Railway (CAMRA discount).

If you’ve stayed there, let me know

It seems like less than a year ago I was here admiring the wide boulevards, water features and pretty courtyards with Sam Smiths pubs.  Probably because it was.

Must go in next time

I headed past the Sun and the Sam Smiths to the Hope and Union, a bar I could have gone in last July if I’d taken advice from a local.


Inauspicious entrance

It was the lovely guy in the GBG Wasp’s Nest across the road who’d recommended it, but I was just a bit put off by the tiling and Vedett signage which makes it look a bit “craft by numbers“. Bit like that Northampton craft place looked chainy but wasn’t.

Looks chainy, isn’t
Greggs bag the giveaway

But I was clearly wrong.  Not only is it in the Guide, it’s also secured a place in the select band of outlets who have passed the “Fit to serve Cloudwater” exam, joining such craft hotbeds as Westhoughton and Hanwell.

Exclusive.  Stout is black.

They had Siren as well, and Camerons.  And this Coldwell-friendly line-up.

Perfect accompaniment to your banked Bass in the Sun

One photo will deter the Proper Pubmen amongst you.

Scholl canteen chic

But the welcome, mix of custom (2 Carribean guys round the corner enjoying jerk chicken for lunch),

Beer & gravy bun washed down with barrel-aged Duvel – yum

and frankly stunning Cloudwater Stout make this an essential stop on the Stockton Stagger.

Pure magic

I never did find out who No Teeth Keith is/was, but based on the rest of the toilet art that may be a good idea.



  1. Was there really a beer called “Invoice Me for the Microphone IPA”? This must come from the “inside joke as beer name” school. 😉

    Yes, the folding chair and the corrugated steel on the wall is maybe not my preferred approach to decking out a drinking establishment. But at least they’ve made an effort to give the place some character.


    1. When I take people on guided tours round Stockton I’ll take them in the Hope & Union for lunch, then Wasps Nest for nuts, Golden Smog for the beer and toilets, ending at the Sun for banked Bass and bingo.

      And yes, I presume that beer is for real !

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So have I. Think I’ve only seen it four time, excellent/v good each time. If Cloudwater published a guide to their 50 odd (guess ?) outlets I’d bet the other cask beers are good as well. What’s closest to you ?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Nags Head and Harp would be in most people’s Top 50 for fast moving reliable cask, even if they didn’t like the pubs. Haven’t been to Wenlock for a while though walked past it recently – have you?


  2. I’m not surprised the guy in the Wasp’s Nest recommended it. I’ve just walked in to Hope and Union to find pno cask on…or so it seems. The nice lady behind the bar said they had some IPA on cask, so I said thank you very much. Guess where she got it from? One for the dubious ticks committee?


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