Mid Wales is a nightmare for the pub ticker. Expensive B&Bs, sheep crossing events at Llangurig that last longer than a Tom Jones gig, and opening hours that make micropubs seem like Wetherspoons.
Not too bad in Welshpool, where the Pheasant promises all day opening from 1pm to allow the owners to watch Bargain Hunt on BBC 1 before facing the town’s craft beer crazed customers.
Welshpool sounds more interesting than it is. In fact, I met a German couple in Montgomery, on their way round the teashops of Wales, who’d reached that opinion themselves.
But there’s always something to admire, everywhere. Except you know where.
The former cockfighting arena is now the home of the Women’s Institute, which seems entirely appropriate.
I’ve no idea what this art deco/brutalism mashup is.
Anyway, scruffy but busy High Street, less brand names than Newtown, and no sign of a micropub yet. Seen worse.
No shortage of waving red sausages, either.
At 13.02 the Pheasant is showing no signs of life.
I’m an impatient sod, so I ring up.
“Excuse me awfully, but what time are you opening today?”
“Sorry mate, had a heavy night. Be down in a minute ”
To be fair, he was. Don’t get that level of personal detail in Brunning & Price.
A bit like Jono’s in Ilford, it’s a fun pub, at least it will be in eight hours time.
For the 100th time this year I’m the only customer, even without the draw of a Spoons here.
Luckily, there’s one of those handwritten stickers on a pump clip that tell you EVERYTHING’S GOING TO BE OK.
I go for the North Riding of course, and convince myself the young
hipster barman gives a nod of aporoval.
The Ella has a dreadful pumpclip but tastes great, cool and refreshing, and I wonder if North Riding are actually my favourite brewery, before remembering I don’t like breweries.
The barman leaves me to myself, which hurts a bit, and I admire the old skool graffiti in the gents.
#EyUpJockey is the least likely hashtag to find in a Welsh border town, isn’t it?