31st January 2020 (ring a bell ?)

Another day, another underrated Midlands mining town of about 25,000 souls.

With daylight to help, you get the whole tourist package with Rugeley. Cancel those holidays in Rome and Runcorn and come to Rugeley this summer.

Actual Rugeley postcard
Stafford Paul’s house not marked as you might raid his stockpile of Doom Bar

Best known for the cathedral to rival Lichfield,

Rugeley B Power Station

I’ve given the town short shrift over the years; a Spoons cinema conversion and a newish micro on an unprepossessing estate (which doesn’t really narrow it down).

I didn’t even know there was an old town behind that Spoons, let alone an attractive half-timbered one.

There’ll always be a Red Lion
Future Brunning & Price
I never found a church that looked like this

OK, it’s drizzling, but it’s also a bit deserted for a Friday lunchtime. Perhaps they’re all up the road drinking Plum Porter in Bod.

Mine all mine

At this point I huddled under a charity shop and wrote,

A town built to make Cannock look good. It was worth a go“.

But that’s not fair.

Rugeley is pedestrianised, packed with small independent shops, and has a quite brilliant indoor market in the old Brewery Centre. What was brewed there, Paul only knows.

Typical Rugeley-ite

Tor Records is shut, a nod to micropubs, so I can’t buy Simon this punk classic.

Ladyfuzz collaboration with I’ve Got A Fuzzbox awaited

Enough tat, where are the pubs ?

Well, the Craft Union place looked decent,

Shown at rare moment without smoker outside

But it’s the Vine I’ve come for, even if it does threaten homebrew on WhatPub.

Proper licensee names there

It’s a Proper Pub, if a bit cluttered externally. The main bar is a gem.

“Pint of Bass please, since you’re kind enough to put it on”.

If I was expecting a look that said “But we brew all these weird beers in the side rooms for you CAMRA lot” I didn’t get it. Just a thanks.

Well thank you, Vine, for one of the pints of Bass of the year.

Chilled, frothy, with an unmistakable snatch I thought you only got with Pedi. NBSS 3.5+, didn’t touch the sides.


A chap says hello and then gets back to moaning about the Villa and how their Wembley appearance will derail their season. Villa fans are never happy, are they ?

Bench seating

Lacings ?, you say. Oh yes.


One last thing, when you visit, come on a Wednesday. And you’ve missed U2, phew.



  1. “Midlands mining town” was of course before Thatcher.
    That’ll be one of the last photos of “the cathedral to rival Lichfield” that’s due to be blown up soon.

    “Stafford Paul’s house not marked as you might raid his stockpile of Doom Bar” – it’s actually just off the top of the map nearly a fifth of the way along.

    That Red Lion must be one of your top hundred pubs.

    The Crown might be unique for the “BUTLER & Co” stonework above the front door.

    I remember the Vine’s lessee having a massive disagreement with Punch. I was last in it as a home brew pub that didn’t have it’s own beer on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pete,
      You remind me that for the February-March 2003 edition of Potters Bar I wrote “Dozens of disgruntled Punch lessees from many parts of the country attended a meeting organised by Dave Westwood at his Vine inn, Sheepfair, Rugeley. Dave has been instrumental in setting up the Federation of Pub Partnerships which he hopes can address the problems of the beer tie “being used to inflate the price of beer” which with “unfair contract terms” is “squeezing the landlord” often to the point of bankruptcy.
      That gathering made an annual GBG selection meeting look like a vicarage tea party.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Rugeley won’t ever seem the same when those cooling towers are blasted into oblivion. Very jealous of those lacings but at least I’ve got my own photo of that Bass lamp somewhere. Nice old inn the Vine, rambling interior and creeping plants – the homebrew isn’t bad, I’m quite partial to their Vanilla Porter.

    You might have missed a quiet gem with the Red Lion Martin – it’s probably unlikely to make the GBG any time soon but I have enjoyed some perfectly acceptable pints of Banks’s Mild there in recent memory, and there are usually some interesting characters in attendance. I even met a large stuffed Foghorn Leghorn there a few years ago. Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Had a Vanilla Porter in the Vine yesterday. My first pub pint after lockdown. Rich, creamy, smooth, wonderful “mouthfeel” Best pint I’ve had, not just in 4 months but in 4 years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No Mudgie , didn’t go to the Red Lion (not in GBG 2020)
        Rusty Barrell not open yet.


    1. T’other Mudgie,

      Yes, in the past I’ve walked along the canal towpath or across Cannock Chase to Rugeley, spent quite a while in the Red Lion and had a pint in the nearby Albion before getting the train home.

      I see that with Stonegate having taken over Enterprise the Crown is now open from 9am so Pedigree there has the morning taken care of.


      1. T’other Mudgie.
        And quite right too.
        It’s forty-something years since I’ve been in Buckingham Palace but don’t remember it being as good as Rugeley’s Red Lion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No, just gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – and back then I didn’t even know of Fullers’s Star Tavern round the back.


  3. I made several visits to Rugeley during the late ’70s, staying with a friend from university, at his parents’ house on the edge of town.

    I seem to recall a pub that you could see from the train, as it thundered through the town without stopping. Looking at Google, there is a pub called the Yorkshireman in the location I am thinking of, but the exterior looks nothing like what I remember.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, previously Wilf and Rosa’s Tavern I remember the Yorkshireman as having Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter and M&B Highgate Mild. Now it’s one or two Blythe beers, meals and greyhounds.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Fantastic! Used to drive through Rugeley a lot in nineties en route to Stoke and it looked gritty with proper pubs… GREAT looking Bass …feel free to give villa fans plenty to whinge about in the cup final…


    1. LAF,
      Yes, but with Amazon now the main employer and proper jobs in the pit and power station gone Rugeley’s now more sh*tty with just a couple of Proper Pubs.


      1. T’other Mudgie,
        Yes indeed, nobody is going to seriously disagree with that but growing up in the South Staffordshire Coalfield nobody then could have imagined the BIG pits – such as Rugeley’s Lea Hall, Littleton near me and Hilton Main – ever closing.


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