We moved on to Dereham, home of Curry Charles and resting place for our campervan on Wednesday night.

No ticks in Dereham, with the best pub re-opening too early for GBG21 and the Royal Standard shut.

But, hoorah/boo, a new gastropub 10 minutes up the road was new in, open all day, and Charles told us the Brisley Bell had spent a lot of money on it to attract the North London pashmina set on their trip to the coast.

You could see where the money had gone, inside and out.

It was 3.30, we’d missed the lunch rush, and had the public bar almost to ourself.

We hoped the dart board were an affectation (rather like the hand pumps are in gastropubs).

Two homebrews will get you in the GBG, kids.

A chap in a suit turned up and took the window seat, and as the light streamed in it looked better than a Brunning & Price attempt at a pub, anyway.

We tried the Boudica, the Barsham and the Wherry, all in unique glasses.

Mrs RM had the Wherry in a handle, to the horror of the barman (and myself), and the best of a disappointing bunch.

But I couldn’t dislike the Bell. A couple came in for drinks, in the way you’d drive out to a village pub in the 1950s, which of course it still is in West Norfolk.

Talking of cars;

16 thoughts on “NO GASTRO HELL, AT THE BELL

  1. The Brisley Bell is a new one on me Martin, although I see from What Pub that it is near the King’s Head at North Elmham – a firm favourite of my parents, and venue for many Bailey family meals. Eileen, Matthew and I have also stayed there..

    North Elmham is also home to the Railway; another excellent pub, and a better bet for beer; even though the trains are now long gone.

    Disappointed you didn’t call in at the Cherry Tree in Dereham, though!


  2. Love the look of those floorboards, especially in the “light streamed in” photo; if they could speak I bet they’d have tales to tell.

    When you say that the hand pumps in gastropubs can be an affectation, do you mean you’ve been to places where the hand pumps are not actually functional, but instead entirely decorative?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sort of. I really mean that there’s no real commitment to cask, but you just can’t have a “country pub” without handpumps on show, even if very few customers veer away from wine, lager or coke.

      Those sort of pubs are more likely to pick a local beer, or a beer with an interesting name, so the pumps serve the same purpose as an interesting sign, or old beams, or gas lighting.

      If the beer doesn’t sell within 3 days I doubt they’d stop selling it !

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I see. So in some places the pumps are technically functional, but so rarely used as to be a sort of atmospheric choice. But that’s an eye opener reading what Paul had to say about early 70s pubs with genuinely non-operational hand pumps!


    2. Mark, in the bad old days of the early 1970’s, when many English pubs had switched over to keg beer (filtered, gassy, cold and pressurised dispense), it wasn’t that unusual to see a fine, but non-operational, set of hand pumps adorning the bar counter.

      Martin is too young to remember such times, but unfortunately, before the advent of CAMRA, this wasn’t an uncommon sight!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Remember this well. And worse; a pub in Poole where they pulled the handpump back and turned on the keg tap simultaneously.


      2. Bill,
        Not just Poole.
        Through the 1970s keg beer through fake handpumps cropped up quite often but back then ever local authority had a proper Trading Standards Department that once alerted promptly eliminated such deception, and they also ensured that a pint meant the full twenty fluid ounces.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “and resting place for our campervan on Wednesday night.”

    Did the engine finally give out? Oh, wait, you mean your RON (Remain Over Night).

    “You could see where the money had gone, inside and out.”

    I can’t tell whether they’re trying to be Lord of the Rings or Downton Abbey.

    “We hoped the dart board were an affectation (rather like the hand pumps are in gastropubs).”

    (slow golf clap)

    “We tried the Boudica, the Barsham and the Wherry, all in unique glasses.”

    Is Boudica a variant of Boudicea? I only know her from the second spelling.

    “and the best of a disappointing bunch.”


    “Talking of cars;”

    Meh. Not as good as Fabian’s role in Thunder Alley. 😉



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