ROTHBURY STAGES THE METALLICA v ADELE SHOWDOWN

Before I get to the next open pub, here’s a kinda closed one;

You do better hanging out of a car whizzing round a corner at 70mph. That’s The Star Inn at Netherton, one of the classic Basic Unspoilt Pubs of Great Britain.

Only open Friday and Sunday evenings these days, and since Thursday even those hours are curtailed. If anyone has been this century, let me know.

I’d found a great place to park the campervan in Rothbury, but probably best not to tell you where it was or it’ll be overrun by those middle-class motorhome owners next year.

No new ticks in, I was only there a year ago for the first time this decade, and the excellent Narrow Nick has decided to stay shut. No surprise given how narrow it is.

Which left not a lot in the darkness of the undulating High Street, illuminated only by the glow from the chippy I made a mental note to return too a couple of pints later.

Obviously you’d have wanted me to search out the best place in town for Doom Bar, possibly the Co-op. But I couldn’t walk past the Turk’s Head, what’s left of my brain telling me I might have been here once.

Now the problem with Covid* is that you can’t amble (not that Amble) round pubs looking for charity boxes and pashminas to photograph.

You can’t even look at the handpumps anymore. Deal with it, beer tickers.

No, you’re shown to a table separated from the bar by perspex, and there you stay, hoping your “server” knows what beers they have on.

Many people have a problem with all this; I’m just grateful I can still visit pubs I expected to be closed well into 2021. Perhaps they won’t last till then.

I hope they survive. The Turk’s Head, like nearly all pubs I go in, was friendly, apologetic about the rules, and eager to please.

I was pleased to be in the dining area, there were still folk in there, AND they were still serving at 5 to 8 on a Thursday night in what some pubs seem to see as “Winter”.

My enduring memory from the night was a running battle between two members of staff to take control of a jukebox set at 6 (out of 11). Metallica alternated with Adele, followed by Metallica, follows by Kenny Loggins.

THAT’s why you go to pubs, isn’t it. That and two very well-spoken gents reliving their trip to Lubeck and Hamburg’s furniture museum to the accompaniment of “Poker Face“.

It was so much fun I asked for the menu.

Six people eating, must be good ? were entering their scores on the National Pie Scoring System.

Well, it was wonderful. Steak and Guiness pie, short crust pastry, chunky chips, a week’s worth of veg, homemade gravy. As good as haute cuisine gets.

I asked for mayo, when I should have asked for mustard. The “server” was uncomplaining as he made his 386th journey of the night, bringing back a pre-emptive salt sachet.

Shame about the beers from Tyne Bank, Castle Gold and Silver Dollar I think. Cool and well-presented but suffering from serious underuse. “Fruity but worn” I wrote, alarmingly pretentious by this point.

I’m not sure I actually saw another pint pulled on my mini-Northumberland jaunt, and the pubs were busier than you might think.

Use pubs or lose them, drink the cask or you’ll be left with Peroni and Pinot Grigio.

*Other more pressing problems with Covid may be available.

26 thoughts on “ROTHBURY STAGES THE METALLICA v ADELE SHOWDOWN

    1. And you’d have made a good choice, though I always think fish and chips are best eaten as a takeaway (same as Chinese).

      I wondered what Dick and yourself would have made of this one. Not in the Guide but looks traditional and well managed, and the beer seems well presented before you taste it. And it wasn’t off, more a 2 than a 1, but you’d notice the lack of freshness immediately.

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  1. Star Inn at Netherton – visited on Tuesday 26 August 2014 on bicycles from Newcastle station. Then rode back to Rothbury where we stayed in the gbg pub there (Queens maybe?).

    The one beer on at the Star was Thwaites Wainwright which i recall was distinctly average (at best), although we both did manage a couple of pints, what with making the effort to be there. At the time the Star had dropped out of the gbg for the 2014 edition, but was in the 2013 gbg and quite a number before that.

    The full story involved accompanying a mate for the rest of the week on his quest to tick all of the Northumberland gbg pubs, with him having never done any of them before.

    We didn’t manage it unfortunately due to distances being too much, but he did manage to tick 38 of the 40 entries in 2014 gbg.

    This was all done on bicycles, and remember Northumberland isn’t exactly flat.

    And pints only !

    Don’t have the full details to hand as my computer has been out of commission since last November.

    A great week though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot Mark. 2014 is almost last week as far as the Star goes !

      38 out of 40 is great going, Northumberland entries aren’t exactly clustered !

      My one visit in 1998 (it was one of the 25 entries in the first 25 Guides and I needed a little stamp to get a CAMRA bottle of special Bass) was no better than average Castle Eden from the jug. Mrs RM said “Have another pint, I’m driving” but I didn’t.

      Think it fell out of the GBG in 2013 and not seen since. Duncan will know, the entries are tattooed on his left arm.

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      1. Did you complete the 25 ? There was a bit in WB about someone who got round all 25 and one or two others wrote follow up letters to say they had also achieved it.

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      2. Yes, and received a certificate and 2 bottles of the Bass museum beer.

        I thought a few had done it. Not that hard, no opening hours problems back then, just long trips to Broughty Ferry and Helston and Pontfaen.

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    2. Impressive, far more so than my attempt to cycle round all the Donnington pubs. Only 18 of them in 1983, but I still failed miserably.

      I expect Martin will have done them all, knowing how much he enjoys a pint or three of Donnington’s fine ales. 😃🍺

      Liked by 3 people

      1. T’other Paul,
        I’ve used nearly all the Donnington pubs, helped by walking most of the Donnington Way six years ago.
        I did all the Bathams pubs – except their Cambrian outpost – before then for writing the ‘crawl’ article for the BEER magazine.
        I was planning on getting round all the Holdens pubs in a month this year but that won’t happen.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “but probably best not to tell you where it was or it’ll be overrun by those middle-class motorhome owners next year.”

    It’s like that in Tournai just for regular parking, according to my brother.

    “But I couldn’t walk past the Turk’s Head, what’s left of my brain telling me I might have been here once.”

    That does ring a bell, even to me.

    “Now the problem with Covid* is that you can’t amble (not that Amble) round pubs looking for charity boxes and pashminas to photograph.”

    Si said something similar in his latest post. ‘Hard to ‘pub explore’ in the current circs’ was what he said.

    “No, you’re shown to a table separated from the bar by perspex, and there you stay, hoping your “server” knows what beers they have on.”

    Sadly, that’s pretty much the norm over here even before Covid; unless you actually sit at the bar.

    “THAT’s why you go to pubs, isn’t it.”

    Well, that and the beer hopefully.

    “It was so much fun I asked for the menu.”

    I think my darling wife should up her prices on our lunch truck. She does both chili in a bowl and a homemade cheeseburger for under 3 quid!

    “Six people eating, must be good ? were entering their scores on the National Pie Scoring System.”

    (slow golf clap)

    Although the two in the photo below seem to be scoring their wine. 😉

    “Steak and Guiness pie”

    Looks more filling than the burger, and cheaper to boot!

    “alarmingly pretentious by this point.”

    The wine drinkers were rubbing off on you.

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Etu,
      It’s probably trying to go one better than Mrs Beeton who recommended that chips be cooked twice, or rather the chips be taken out of the fat for a while enabling it to properly heat up again.
      Mrs Beeton was right that “The moral and physical welfare of mankind depends largely on its breakfast” but potatoes might not have been her speciality.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with Mrs Beeton that “there is a constant complaint of lack of variety, and the too frequent appearance of bacon and eggs”.

        To quote her in more detail “The moral and physical welfare of mankind depends largely on its breakfast, yet many of those upon whom the responsibility of providing it rests do not realise how far-reaching may be the effects of a good or bad meal. A being well fed and warmed is naturally on better terms with himself and his surroundings than one whose mind and body are being taxed by the discomfort and annoyance of badly cooked or insufficient food. With a well-stocked larder and a sideboard supplied with such good things as game-pies, cold game, galantines of chicken or veal, brawn, potted meat, cold ham and pressed beef, it is an easy matter to gratify the tastes and wishes of all, but no meal taxes the ingenuity of middle-class housewives more than breakfast. In small households there is a constant complaint of lack of variety, and the too frequent appearance of bacon and eggs, which, it must be confessed, is the sheet-anchor of the English cook.”
        “But, notwithstanding this plea for “something new,” there are over two hundred ways of dressing eggs, to say nothing of grilled chops, steaks, cutlets, kidneys, fish and mushrooms, anchovy and sardine toast, sausage-rolls, sausages broiled, boiled or fried, meat patties, rissoles, croquettes and croûtes, fish omelette, fish-cakes, fish soused and kedgeree, pressed beef, galantine of beef, potato-chips, potatoes fried in a variety of ways, and a host of other inexpensive and easily prepared dishes. Many of the lower working-classes cannot, of course, afford to provide some of the dishes enumerated above, but the present work includes an almost endless variety of preparations of a simple, inexpensive character, which might be advantageously used to relieve the monotony of breakfast.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Pub Curmudgeon once wrote to the effect that pub lunches could be more interesting in the 80s and 90s when standardisation of pub chain menus came in and he was write. It’s true you can get 67 different dishes in many pubs but they’re the same “pub classics” over and over again.

        Liked by 1 person

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