As I slip ever further into old age and start hanging out with other Old Codgers on pub crawls, the main thing I notice is how dark it is.

Driving after 4pm is no fun, and I was glad to stop for the night at Market Drayton to start my Salopian quest for the year before the rush hour. Loggerheads on the A53 was blacker than death.

Market Drayton

Drayton is, at least, well illuminated, and shines in the dark.

Deserted at 5pm

It’s a Joules town now, but it was the Salopian Star that shone back in 2016.

Now not only is it back it in the Guide, it also has the special retiredmartin “PULLING IT PROPERLY” award emblazoned on the timbers.


I think I’ve done the Tudor trail to death on previous blogs, so here’s the Star Wars display.

I’ve never actually watched a Star Wars film

It’s only a few years ago that the town was a GBG-free zone. Now there’s five (5), in one of the Guide’s most compact crawls.


Three of them virtually in a row on Shropshire Street, even if those red markers above are a bit awry.

The best Joules

Newbie The William Chester looks a bit Cheshire shop conversion from outside.

Ron Pattinson pictured

The interior is an unexpected gem.

Dart board, giant Bass mirror,


comfortable wall seating,


roaring fire,


cosy smoking area,

State of the art HiFi visible

only one Gentleman allowed in the loo at any one time.


A fantastic conversion job, already more lived-in than some Joules houses, only slightly let down by an average Titanic Steerage (NBSS 2.5).

Half a dozen polite blokes on their afterword pint, a civilised session.

I wasn’t up for a session, with a crawl the next day, but you can’t come to Drayton and not gawp at the middle-class enclave known as the Joules Tap.

Red Lion

Nice head on the Winter Warmer. You know how I love Christmas beers in November.

A cool, rich, NBSS 3. No more

It’s a gorgeous pub, just not very pubby, if you know what I mean. Paul will.


All the customers are aged 29-31, wear stylish pullovers, and hum along to The Caterpillar by The Cure. Except me.


I get an early night, and prepare for the surge to Shifnal.

28 thoughts on “MARKET DRAYTON : JOULES, BASS, R2-D2

  1. My brother is put off by the feel of Joule’s pubs. Your comment may explain it. The lighter wood and layout isn’t really as pubby as a lot of interiors. You can’t help but find them really beautiful, but they are not warm environments to sit in. (Coopers excepted.) Cock Inn in Leeks is an example for me. Beautiful pub, but you really preferred sitting in the Titanic pub across the street.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know what you mean – they often seem to be “pub by numbers” and don’t come across as very lived-in. Also everything seems to be in the same shade of brown so there’s a lack of contrast. One of the pubbiest I’ve come across is the Old Bull’s Head in the centre of Newcastle-under-Lyme.

      I’d like to see what they’ve done with the Rose & Crown in Ludlow.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was just about to say the same thing! I really liked the first two or three Joules pubs I went into, but then I started to notice that they were all very ‘samey’! Whilst they look great at first glance, you soon begin to realise that they’ve had all quirkiness and individuality knocked out of them to fit a standard template.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. “just not very pubby, if you know what I mean. Paul will” – yes indeed I know precisely.
        And yes Pete, “you soon begin to realise that they’ve had all quirkiness and individuality knocked out of them to fit a standard template” and that’s nothing short of criminal when it involves listed historic interiors.

        Isn’t “only one Gentleman allowed in the loo at any one time” a bit suspicious ?


  2. It’s a shame that Market Drayton isn’t easier to get to as it would make a great place for a Proper Day Out. The town has always had a good number of good pubs, now it seemingly has good beer as well (plus the Carling and Foster’s are just as good as ever!)

    The William Chester is a gem and an example of how to make a brand new pub feel like an old, proper pub (it was only 2½ months old when we were there in 2018!) and my Salopian Lemon Dream was fine!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Martin, I’ve been meaning to get back to Market Drayton for quite a while so thanks for the nudge. The GBG side of things there seems to have picked up since the town gained its own sub-branch of CAMRA (presumably with associated allocation?). Agree with you, Mudgie and Pete regarding Joules pubs – they can be quite similar, and their preference for solid wood can detract from the cosiness. Perhaps with a bit more wear and tear in a few years time the interiors might have a bit more genuine patina, rather than feeling slightly contrived. Looking forward to your thoughts on Shifnal. Cheers, Paul


    1. I’m not sure if the town has picked up entries previously in the countryside, I don’t recall a lot of entries here before.

      Two are newish Joules, Chester is shop conversion, Clive & Coffyn is the odd one, Salopian Star is weird but great!


  4. The elephant in the room is that Joules beer is really not very good. The biggest selling beer across their estate is Carling. You do not see Joules in the free trade.
    The Olde Bull’s Head in Newcastle under Lyme is now available as a free of tie lease.
    The Rose & Crown in Ludlow is busy but with a predominately younger customer base. They have a couple of guest cask beers but it’s very much a “night out in Ludlow” pub for locals and the nearby villages.


    1. I actually can’t agree with “Joules beer is really not very good” although of course it’ll never be the proper Joules from Stone.
      It’s their pubs that to me are far worse than “not very good” and that’s why I so rarely drink their beer.

      Liked by 1 person

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