Pub Number 8 was a lung-busting five minutes out of town, and only inserted in the itnerary at my insistence. It was the Pub of the Day (award to be made on 12 May in the Common Room of Rugby School).
Just as I’ve only seen football holiganism once (A Wolves fan knocked an Ipswich fan’s bobble hat off after a late George Burley equalizer in 1977), I’ve only seen a pub fight once.
A decade ago the Half Moon had a year in the Guide, and at 5pm I caught a scrap kicking off, probably over CAMRA discount.
The lovely landlady was apologetic as I left my half of GK IPA (shame, it was NBSS 3.5) and a local shouted “Don’t worry, it’s only his brother” as the sirens wailed outside.
Looking now, I’ve just seen there was anothe big scrap here only three months ago. Shame, because broken hips tend to put off CAMRA surveyors.
But not the Beer & Pubs Forum Group.
The approach to the bar was narrow, so we nominated someone to inspect the pumps. Despite the tell-tale £2 sticker on the Tim Taylor, someone went for it. There’s always one.
Friendly locals, a great mix of drinking areas, and some unexpectedly lovely touches.
Great seating, a divisive soundtrack (“If Not You” and “Sylvia’s Mother” by Dr Hook, “Make It With You” by Bread, anyone ?”).
Clearly a lager pub (aren’t they all), but I rated the Black Sheep as high as 3.5/4, cool, dry and biting. It may have improved even further in the fresh air of the lovely courtyard, oddly devoid of puffers.
The advert for Plum Porter in the immaculate Gents is a bit quirky.
And when I say immaculate, I mean better than Brunning & Price loos. AND without the bile beans adverts.
An unexpected winner.