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.
Best known for the cathedral to rival Lichfield,
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.
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.
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.
Tor Records is shut, a nod to micropubs, so I can’t buy Simon this punk classic.
Enough tat, where are the pubs ?
Well, the Craft Union place looked decent,
But it’s the Vine I’ve come for, even if it does threaten homebrew on WhatPub.
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 ?
Lacings ?, you say. Oh yes.
One last thing, when you visit, come on a Wednesday. And you’ve missed U2, phew.