I thought that after Sweden I’d do a post of highlights from the trad pubs in industrial west Tyne & Wear.
After all, EVERYONE writes about Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but NO-ONE writes about Blaydon and the mining towns to the west. Prove me wrong.
The only problem is, there are no trad GBG pubs left (not on my blog, anyway) and Blaydon itself is a bit like Spennymoor without the Scouse menace.
Just loads of those micros you love. Or will learn to love, anyway. So here they are;
Yes, that’s really High Spen, a tiny village in the middle of nowhere that probably doesn’t even appear on Simon’s 1997 Readers Digest Atlas of Britain.
A sea of poppies greeted me, and a row of shops fed me;
I bought a coronation chicken bap/cob/barm and Eccles cake from the bakery. Both were astoundingly good, though the Eccles cakes were baked in St Neots in Cambridgeshire, weirdly.
Wig’s Place is cosy and crammed with Federation Breweriana.
“How are you, my darling ?”
“Good, thanks. What beer should I have then ?”
“Well, the Olde Potting Shed is made next door, can’t go wrong with that”
She was great, and the other customer, a chatty young lady, took me into her confidence about her sibling issues.
Really, some of these recent micropubs are quite wonderful. Particularly the ones run by women and welcoming folk who don’t drink beer.
A few miles north, Prudhoe is smarter than I expect, despite the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club affectation in the name (joking, Prudhoe).
Perhaps there’s a perfect set of circumstances to visit a micro, where you’re not crushed to death or embarrassed by silence.
Wor Local was relaxed and chatty, with plenty of seating seating options, each with their own wooden mousetrap and draughts on the table. And there’s TWO loos.
The Guvnor brought out a little bowl of cheesy Wotsits, the non-micro blokes talked about hire v buy options on ankle grinders at Jewsons.
“Aye. All it needs is regrouting“.
Yes, it makes all the difference when the owner and locals talk to you, doesn’t it ?
East of Blaydon you reach the cause of the decline of the local shopping, as the Metro Centre envelops you and crushes your spirit,
leaving you to vainly attempt to reach the exit, but find yourself in the UK’s grimmest Spoons with its cutting edge ales.
It’s worth heading through the retail park to
Dave runs a warm, cosy place with a range of ages, lovely to see.
Someone said “Canny” which made my day.
The nice lady said “Straight glass or handle“, which really made my day.
As did the lacings of the month on this Grainger.
And if you MUST have a Proper Pub, the Sun is over the road. Dave runs this one,too.
You can read about the Sun in Pubmeister’s blog.
The important thing to know if you meet Dave is that Newcastle United will soon have more money than City and Dave will be happy. Or think he is.
There you go, a Blaydon mini micro crawl with great beer and friendly locals. Can be done.