Looking at the 1,037 photos on my phone it appears I popped back home in between my week Up North to cook tea for our sons and take Mrs RM on a campervan break in Bury St Edmunds.

Not our first trip to the southern Bury, whose forward thinking Council lets us park overnight for a quid as long as we don’t tip the contents of our chemical toilet in the plant pots River Lark.


But the nice man at West Suffolk CAMRA alerted me to an intriguing beer range in the unlikely sounding Tavern at St.Johns’s.

Am I in the wrong Bury

Yes, Otter, Lees and Ossett on the bar of a small former Spoons and now stylish bistro. It could be the southern equivalent to T’other Bury’s Clarence, at a push.

All that cask didn’t make sense, and apart from a few professional drinkers at the bar it felt an unlikely cask venue, but what do I know ?

Anyway, it was great.


The staff were cheery, the tapas was superb, and Mrs RM and I drank the whole cask range apart from the Adnams,  It veered between OK and good, depending on whether it was Mrs RM or I with the pints.

NBSS 3 for Ossett and Wherry, 2.5 for Lees and Otter

And what looked like the entirety of West Suffolk’s school teachers drained the Chablis stocks as “Be Yourself Tonight” and “Africa” bounced around the room.

Bar/bistro life

I’d have left after the first pint and the salt and pepper squid, but local legend Graham McGrotty (honest) was wowing Mrs RM with his (mainly) Dire Straits covers.  Which weren’t Dire.

I don’t do Kylie“, said Graham, before breaking into “Comfortably Numb“.

As Mrs RM finished her Wherry she let Matthew in on this world of musical discovery.

“Enjoy your night”

We even succumbed to a pudding in a desperate attempt to reflate the Bury economy.

Crude drinks
One each

As you’ll see from the top photo, we popped in a heaving Spoons for their craft murk, cleverly disguised as a £6 pitcher of cocktail, but somehow resisted the micropub…



      1. What intrigues me about the exchange is the dentist check up. Is he an inspector who has to check the dentist is doing their job correctly?

        Is the pudding on the right meant to be a Crunchie bar? Points off the pub for putting pointless sprigs of mint on. I can’t think of a better thing to do with them than to give them to me. Shall we say 4?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I keep forgetting the Tavern on St Johns exists, I went there a few times when it was Benson Blakes when I popped over to Bury more often,but it had completely passed me by it became a Lloyds 1 spoons in between that closing and then what they called the Snug opened (which I dont think was a spoons as it was more a bar/bistro), because it must literally have been only a spoons for 5months at best in that case, which is interesting in so far as you often think its all the older history of pubs that you lose track of, when actually its the here and now thats moving so fast sometimes and its changing around us.

    at least the mummified cat in the nutshell is never going to change as its preserved for all time


    1. Oh, I didn’t know the Spoons (the Wolf) was so short-lived, but I used to have to visit the town regularly in the ’00s and early’ 10s and never visited.

      Benson Blakes never really appealed. The new place had the best pub food I’ve had this year.


  2. Tavern on St Johns does great food, and we know the people who run it quite well (they use to run the Old Cannon, which is still very good, if not an improvement under the new manager). The beer can sometimes be a bit ordinary, to say the least, especially early in the evening. However, the Tuesday £10 pizza and drink offer is worth considering as the pizzas are very good, thin crust. They are tied to the Heineken beer list, and I have helped choose beers off it (Lees and Otter I can claim!). Bass is not on that list, sadly. Beerhouse still has the best beer in the town, the best GK in the Rose & Crown. Definitely a very good and varied drinking town these days and no shortage of good pubs to eat.


    1. Exactly my take, Nick. Best pub food and friendliest staff this year.

      Anyone who puts on Otter and Lees is alright with me. If I was just in Bury for a pint it would be Rose & Crown or the Dove, but the beer was good enough, particularly the Wherry (for a change).

      All you need now in BSE is an outlet for the Little Earth Project beers (yes, I know it’s outside your branch) 👍


      1. When you do let me know and I can show you the sights (well, the beery ones, preferably dog-friendly as my dog is a great pubgoer too)


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