7th February 2020

Another day, another county falls to the retiredmartin surge, a surge which is this week being foiled by Storm Darren or whatever it’s called.

A proper county, too, unless the Mudges tellmeotherwise

You left me waving goodbye to Stafford Paul as I caught the 13:24 from Congleton to Stoke, expertly timing my dash to a 2pm opener (at worst) to complete #StaffsGBG20.


I emerged, blinking into the car park backing on to the A52, an area resplendent with abandoned Bass cans (they still abandon Greenalls cans in Cheshire).

And began the Hartshill Mile (aka the Draught Bass way) so beautifully described by LifeAfterFootball.


You might think that the discussions on the influential Beer & Pubs Forum are mainly about “cob v bap” or “what’s a Proper Pub, then“. In reality it’s me being a prat and chiding Sexagenarians (there’s nothing sexy about it) for not wanting to walk obscene distances between pubs like BRAPA and I do on our days out.

In fairness, you wouldn’t choose to walk the two miles along the busy A52 from Stoke to Newcastle-under-Lyme in snow or hail, though I’ve done just that before.

Pause halfway to admire the Holy Trinity,

Church on a hill

of Jolly Potters, Sanctuary Ale House and the Artisan Tap.

I’d done my homework on the Artisan;

1) The Beer Guide says it it opens at 1pm, but we never believe that, do we Si ?

2) WhatPub also says 1pm, which makes sense given the other opening times.


Note there’s no social media or website listed to check.

3) The actual sign on the actual door (well done) says 1pm.

A rarity, opening times on the micro door

4) Google Maps says 2pm, oddly, but that’s OK, it’s now 2.02.


4) And finally Trip Advisor, which as we know is TOTALLY reliable, reassures me it’s Open Now.


It patently isn’t, you know.


Never mind, eh, it’s all a game, there are many dimensions, “time” is an abstract construct and I’m out walking in Stoke while you sit at a computer so I mustn’t grumble.

But I do. I could’ve spent more time with Paul in Congleton.

I contemplate the Bass next door,


but exercise discipline and cross the border (you can almost hear the celestial fanfare) into Newcastle-under-Lyme (NuL to its mates, of whom there are many).

You’ve left Stoke
Fonts designed by Matthew L

Just a flat white and a phone recharge in Caffe Nero, always a bad idea after beer, folks.

And then back to the Artisan, which has just opened.

It’s very quirky and rambling, a bit like Roots in Kimberley which caused me grief before coming up trumps last year.

Back to basics
The only pub on the A52 without a Bass mirror. #FACT
Wrapped up warm but it was boling

Lovely place, eclectic music,


and a rich Arbor Stout (NBSS 3) to finish.

Silky stout

As I must stress, an excellent pub, micro or whatever. But…

“Are the hours on the door right ?” I ask, in innocence.


“Where do I find the correct hours ?”

“Our Facebook”

But I don’t use Facebook, and there’s no Facebook link on WhatPub. Everchanging opening hours are the enemy of the #PubMan.


    1. If it’s the only key pub on my trip, as in Kent, I would.

      But in my experience micropubs never answer there phones anyway as they’re not in the premises till just before it’s opened.

      My point here is more about inconsistency of hours in the places most people would look for opening times


      1. Yes, the 12 O’Clock closed front door that should be open has become an occupational hazard of pubgoing. There’s an element of derring-do about travelling long distances without knowing whether your destination will be open, I don’t like it but still rely on Whatpub etc. rather than the simple task of ringing ahead. I am, of course, an idiot…


      2. Def not an idiot. I never book a meal either, though generally I book a flight before tipping up at the airport.
        The concept of phoning a pub to ask if you can show up for a half is as alien as asking for a taster 😉


      3. Yes, life’s complicated enough without ‘phoning pubs and booking meals.
        The only things I book are beds and longer distance trains.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Mark,
      “That dangly bit between Shropshire and West Mids looks well suspicious for Staffs credentials…” but that’s from the 1974 local government reorganisation. The whole of South Staffordshire was meant to become the north-western part of the new West Midlands county but the wealthy villages of Enville and Kinver didn’t want that and successfully campaigned for the boundary to be redrawn.
      Maybe Staffordshire isn’t “A proper county, too” after losing the Black Country. ,


  1. True times on the door would be so #oldmanpub, you gotta live life on the edge and expect the unexpected, even if it does b****r your plans up.
    And Bass in tins! The pinnacle of real beer?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bit late catching up here but kind words Martin…although your blog is effortlessly amusing…Best proper pub on the Hartshill Mile was The Red Lion with just Doom on but loads of Hi Viz blokes and a proper atmosphere…the CAMRA bloke was a bit reluctant I reckon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d do the Hartshill mile, definitely. A bit too much walking for some but the pubs are well spaced out. There’s some good pubs on Honeywall near site of old Stoke ground too.

      Hadn’t realised there was SO much Bass on the A52 though 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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