My futile diversion to a closed pub in Helperby only cost me 10 minutes in travel time, and I made the Tess in time for the Friday teatime swagger down Yarm High Street.


More cobbled street
Not a micro

Yarm (pop: 8,384) is the posh bit of Teesside, a North-eastern Alderley Edge or Epping.  An invigorating mix of “Excellent” schools, Italian trattoria and The Little Bra Shop.

I bet all the premiership footballers of Middlesbrough or Stockton FC live here and get taxis into town for their night on the banked Bass in The Sun.


I’d been here once, a decade ago, and joined a packed crowd of smartly dressed folk avoiding the average Bass in the Black Bull.

Back in 2010 it was standing room only.  In July 2020 in the Ketton Ox it’s strictly all-seated.

Your Stonegate friend and blurry RM finger

I’ve just realised I missed my chance to use my 50p voucher in this upmarket Stonegate.

But that was the least of my worries as I was approached by the greeter, directed first to the handwash, thence to the bar to make my selection from a hidden beer range and swipe my payment,

No idea

and finally to Table 19.  I had no idea where Table 19 was but guessed correctly I’d be stuck away in the corner away from the beautiful people (the ones who don’t live on parmos).

I’d been given a slip of paper with a squiggle on it and politey asked to “Scan the QR code“, which to someone born in 1964 sounds like a track on “Hex Induction Hour”.

Mysterious QR code.  Less mysterious pint of Landlord

By the time I’d downloaded the App the pint had arrived; by the time I’d managed to align the code with my camera I’d finished a decent but unexceptional Landlord.  It was, mind, only £3.10 in a smart town; keep that in mind.

Table 20 received a tray of four Morettis.

Oy, they’re ours  !” said Table 22, momentarily distracted from Norwich v Burnley.

Too late, we’ve touched them now, we’ll have to drink them !” said Table 20.

Sorry, that’s the best the Ketton Ox could offer, bar my amazement that Teessiders on high heels and a third Wu Wu could follow the arrows.

But, unexpectedly, Yarm itself had more to offer.


32 thoughts on “RIPPING YARMS

  1. I remember when QR codes first started appearing, they seemed like a good idea at the time. Eventually I succumbed to modernity and included one on my cider and perry labels in the sure knowledge they’d never get scanned and be obsolete within the year anyway. Who’d have thought the quaint olde QR code’s day would finally come…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yarm is within the unitary authority of Stockton on Tees but was in Cleveland after the 1974 nonsense that dragged it from the North Riding.


      1. Lodge opens on Monday. Literally just been in chatting to one of the staff who’s been in setting things up. Hugh took the opportunity to get a new carpet laid, bar stripped and varnished (10 coats!) and the ceiling painted. All the beer arrived yesterday so the Bass will be a bit young on Monday by the usual standard of a minimum 7 day conditioning.


    1. You’re in the north now, Paul !

      I have no idea what the best pint of Landlord looks like, but definitely not flat ! (In contrast, there’s quite a few acceptable presentations of, say, London Pride or Bass).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. T’other Paul.
      Yes, it definitely needed topping up.
      It looks exactly like the metered pints of Banks’s Bitter I remember in a 24 fluid ounce oversized glass which makes it only 16⅔ fluid ounces and equivalent to £3.72 and so no less you might have expected.
      A 40p a pint increase, or even Humphrey’s £1, is less insulting than that.


  2. I have just about mastered the mysterious QR thing & was also forced to order food & drink on an app in a Sheps pub The Grove Ferry (i think ) As i have a small amount of experience using the Spoons app I managed ok but it took an age on my small phone -fat finger problems .Everything seems to be a bit of a challenge these days but we will persevere -done the shopping in a mask & are venturing out on train tomorrow. Enjoying your photos from oop North by the way !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all just that little bit slower. I used a QR directed app in a craft pub in Northants and it’s definitely harder to make a decision on what to have scrolling through a long list of descriptions rather than just scanning the bar. The Jolly Brew in Cheltenham was better, the waitress asked what I was drinking, brought a small printed beer list over and left it with me for the duration.

      It also seems to be that whilst the table service is generally very good, pubs are running neccesarily quite lean on staff. They just can’t afford to run the truly great table service both we and they would like at the moment.


  3. You can hardly get further down the list of things customers want to do when they go to the pub than scanning a QR code. Not unless it reduces the cost of a pint!

    Forgive me but I’ve forgotten what is meant by “banked Bass.” Is it something that’s done only with Bass, or with other brands as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I might be wrong Mark, but I believe this practice is quite common with pints of Guinness in Ireland. As the name suggests, it involves keeping a number of pre-pulled glasses of beer behind the bar, and then topping them up with freshly pulled beer, according to customer demand.

      (Probably frowned on by hygiene fanatics today!)

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Sometime I think you don’t read EVERY single word of this blog, Mark ;-0. Then I realise I don’t either. Paul’s explanation is spot on. In the Sun they keep half-pulled pints of Bass in the fridge then top them up when served. No-one has ever dies from banked Bass and complained about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I know you’ve always sung the praises of “flat Bass,” which this banked method would surely assist in providing. Sadly I’ve only ever had the keg or bottle version, as it’s all we can get over here. Next time I’m in England I shall have to rectify that!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Actually, the banked Bass provides the complete opposite of flat Bass, which is just Bass from the barrel with no foamy head!

        The banked version I’ve only seen in that Stockton Sun is more foam than beer!


  4. Guinness in Ireland wasn’t pasteurised until (I think) sometime around 1990 so needed time to settle before the glass could be topped up to a pint. Pubs there would often have a line of partially full glasses behind the bar when they expected custom so could serve people faster. Guinness brought the practise into GB as part of what I would call their ‘brand mythology’. Perhaps Bass has similar characteristics, although I can’t say I’ve noticed – I wouldn’t want to drink a pint half-poured from the day before but no problem if they are selling fast. It might be that Bass can be quite ‘lively’ but could also suggest that not enough time is being allowed for it to settle in the cellar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ian,
      I’m not sure but thought all ‘Draught’ Guinness was pasteurised from about 1960 and it was the nitrogenated dispense needing time to settle before the glass could be topped up to a pint.
      Draught Bass was the opposite and there was a time, though maybe not in t’north, when it would be handed back if there was a head on it.


      1. I have a memory from a mid 90s GBG that Guinness had only recently been pasteurised in NW London so suspect Ian is right.

        It tasted TOTALLY different in 1995 in Ireland, that’s for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Guinness stopped being bottle conditioned about then.
        Their brewery at Park Royal, NW10 closed in 2005.
        I don’t remember the GBG ever concerning itself with ‘Draught’ Guinness.


      1. Mark,
        Yes indeed.
        I always thought that if something needed advertising there must be something wrong with it.
        And I remember hearing comments about Dublin Guinness ( in the northern half of England ) compared to Park Royal Guinness ( for the southern half ) but never knew anyone that could tell the difference.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You’re almost certainly right, Mark.

        We had a weekend in Wexford years ago and the Guinness was astonishingly creamy, much better than the stuff here. There may be good Guinness in the Irish areas of NW London without real ale


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