7th February 2020

A short break from the Beer Guide now, as I join a Pub Legend in Congleton.


I’d picked Heaton Chapel, not just for the Booking.com Genius rate if £27.20, but also because it’s a doddle to get to Beartown (look it up yourself) via Stockport. Assuming the train from the Heatons makes it to Stockport before the connecting train leaves in the direction of Stoke. In 2020, that’s too much to ask.

I’d have made it from Platform 0 to Platform 2 just in time if I hadn’t spilt black coffee over my ticket. So, 59 minutes and 40 seconds killed in Stockport Wetherspoons, always a joy when you get John Smiths Smooth man in a purple pullover singing “Winter Wonderland” (honest).

Half an hour later I arrived at a station labelled Congleton but actually in a different continent.


Twenty minutes uphill, and no, I didn’t take a taxi. A scenic walk along the canal and a chance to see the first buds of Spring, Winter having gone on Summer holiday this year.

Guide for foreign tourists and Stokies
Don’t bump your head
Are they crocuses or crocii ?
Busy High Street ahead

It’s almost as if they built the station a mile away to deter the Beer & Pubs Forum, but Stafford Paul will NOT be deterred. With my hour delay in Stocky he’d already got a head start on me, which I compounded by taking photos to show Dick and Dave how similar the town is to Leek.

Names after the Arrested Development hit
Artisan pies
Artisan cakes

No, it can’t match Leek for pubs, or meringue shops, or oatcakes, and the GBG entries have been, well, a bit dull. But it’s still an attractive place.

We skipped the GBG to explore the lesser honoured pubs.

A Proper Pub

I caught up with Paul in the Bull’s Head at 10.45 as he was finishing his third pint, which shows the great man’s commitment to saving pubs (albeit the previous one was the Spoons).

A tidy pub, “Wuthering Heights” playing, perhaps a dozen refugees from the corporatism of Spoons dotted about.

Paul hiding in the corner

I had ticking business later, so I was sticking to halves for now . The Titanic was a quid.

“Wow, is it always that cheap ?”

“You could have had the other one for £1.75 a pint” said the pleasant young man.

Robbies Unicorn on the next bank of fonts

Cheap and tasty beer (NBSS 3) in a well-run wet-led Amber Tavern competing nobly with Spoons, just as Amber does in Worksop and no doubt several other market towns.

We consulted Paul’s immaculate maps (top) and headed for the posh hotel.



  1. “I caught up with Paul in the Bull’s Head at 10.45 as he was finishing his third pint,”
    Yes, Bod ( Stoke station ) 8.15am, Counting House 9.40am, Bulls Head 10.30am and Lion & Swan 11.20am was the plan for four pints before noon and a leisurely afternoon but the last of the four with its “we’ve got bottles” let us down and meant forty wasted minutes wandering around.


      1. Yes, from 8am.
        I arrived on platform 2 at 8.11am so it was a pint of Titanic Steerage at 8.15am.
        That’s what many other railway stations could do with.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Indeed, I wore one at work for ten years but would take it off just before entering a pub.
        But I must admit that all the yellow ones and the orange ones were a bit of a distraction from the carpet in the Counting House.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “Civilised” was most definitely the wrong word as I have NEVER thought there to be anything ‘uncivilised’ about going to a pub in work clothes, not even very bright ones.
        It was better though when nearly all pubs had two rooms, a Bar for work clothes and a Lounge for when accompanied by ones wife.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s