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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
They had Siren as well, and Camerons. And this Coldwell-friendly line-up.
One photo will deter the Proper Pubmen amongst you.
But the welcome, mix of custom (2 Carribean guys round the corner enjoying jerk chicken for lunch),
and frankly stunning Cloudwater Stout make this an essential stop on the Stockton Stagger.
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.