IN CLUBLAND

Well, I asked for requests…

Aren’t Social Clubs in the Beer Guide great !”  said no-one ever, remembering identikit rectangular halls and an odd, indefinable, absence of “cosiness”.

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Well, here’s one that is great.

I haven’t been in the Red Shed for 2 decades, and was only reminded of it today by this comment on the Greystones. My comment, in fact.

Wakefield‘s treasure has been serving good beer (well, no John Smiths Cask to be fair) since I first bought the Guide. It just shows you don’t need stained glass and ornate furnishings to be cosy. Must go back sometime.

I reckon there must be at least 200 Clubs in the Guide, I’ll get the intern to check later. Certainly, you’ll get at least a dozen new ones each year.

Because BeerMat requested my list, there’s quite a Midlands feel to my half dozen picks.

Cookley Village Hall & Sports Club.

Open to all, there was an old boy on Fosters, a girl feeding her dog crisps, and a soccer Mum.  It could have been a Spoons at 11am. The view to the hills was almost glorious, and the sound of thickset Dads shouting “Winners“, “Seconds” a perfect soundtrack.

But the highlight was the pie cabinet;

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Kingsley Park Working Mens Club, Northampton had Old Boys drinking Tetley for £2.55 a pint to a soundtrack of Madonna, which sounds like 85% of Life After Football’s blog.

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Rocklands Soc Club in Redditch had dominoes, cheery bar flies, Nigella Lawson on the telly and a reminder of the local musical heritage.

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Seaton Conservative Club

Most clubs gain a Guide place with support for undrinkable home brew from a young bar steward. This Devon Cons Club stuck on Doom Bar and Otter and watched in horror as all the old folk in shorts drank Carlsberg. But still I loved it.

The Knowl Club in Mirfield is one of 357 Clubs in West Yorkshire and seemed to exist to give old folk a cheap pint while they were watching Sky, though the map guiding the inebriated to the exit and Gents could have been produced just for BRAPA.

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So, why the CAMRA fascination with clubs ? Well, the beer is cheap and sells fast enough to be decent quality, but that doesn’t help Sam Smiths or Craft Union much.

In some cases (east Brum) it’ll be your only bet for cask, in others it’ll be a place for local brews, but in nearly every case you’ll get folk of different ages enjoying a laugh over a pint.

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And I can’t say fairer than that.

27 thoughts on “IN CLUBLAND

  1. I think clubs still have a perception of “worthiness” amongst many in CAMRA. But I doubt whether their inclusion is of much value to the average GBG user.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Worthiness” is a good word. A bit like the community owned pub or longstanding landlord on the A6 rewarded for effort.

      It’s a good point that the chap (sexist assumption) who gets the Beer Guide for Christmas probably won’t faff around with clubs on his holidays (they rarely serve much food), but their opening hours are likely to be better than the micropub next door !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great photos -despite coming from West Yorkshire my knowledge of these places is sparse .My Dad used to play the piano in one (Alan at the piano )-popular songs which he bought the sheet music for -I particularly remember A whiter shade of pale -shudder to think of what he made of it ! The club was considered unsuitable for my mother.My in laws were very into “The Club ” not sure what the beer was -probably Stones or something equally awful. – dreadful place but it made a lot of folk happy & they did a grand spread for mother in laws wake.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting comment on the wake. I sense the social club plays a much bigger part in peoples lives, from after work pint to weekend bingo to wedding reception to wake than it does down south. There’s a weekly listings for Greater Halifax called the Pub Paper (think) which must have a hundred West Yorkshire clubs, many with good beer and all with live music (or they did before March).

      Like

      1. It was always a good (aka cheap) option of somewhere to take the 2 sons for a game of pool while I quaffed a couple of ales. Fun doing the quizzes, too, especially on the odd occasion I could persuade my wife to accompany us, since that made it an even cheaper night out, the tenner-odd winnings (due to her contribution) more than mitigating a couple of glasses of wine for her.
        Sigh, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, as the saying goes.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Pauline, my great aunt’s wake was held at the local British Legion club in Gorseinon, on the outskirts of Swansea. Our journey down to Wales, for the funeral, represents our only trip away this year, as it took place about a month before lockdown.

      Although totally devoid of any character, the club did lay on an excellent spread for the occasion. It was good to catch up with family members – as these events often are, but that was about all you could say about it.

      Attendance at wakes almost certainly represent the majority of my visits to social clubs, so I’m definitely not a fan.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. T’other Paul,
        I live near the Crem ( we never know when our number will be up ) and the lounge of my nearest pub, especially under the previous lessees now at the Bird in Hand, has very often been used for funeral parties.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you get a lot of clubs where they have a long term steward who runs the place in much the same way as an old school landlord, including taking pride in their beer quality. In so many ways a throwback to yesteryear.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true. Thornbury Catholic Club had a lovely old boy as the steward. Retired pub landlord keeping his eye in. Only ever one real ale on but always in perfect nick.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Probably depends on whether there has been a branch visit / meeting during the voting year. They’re not the sort of places many people are going to travel to, especially if they don’t know whether they will be admitted if not members.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Serves me right for asking!!! A lovely warm post on clubs, which are always good value (both price wise and character wise) the latest one I went to in Watchet being a great example.
    Top work sir – the Rover Club in Rowood Drive (Olton) used to be magnificent!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “said no-one ever, remembering identikit rectangular halls and an odd, indefinable, absence of “cosiness”.”

    Sounds a bit like Spoons. 😉

    “My comment, in fact.”

    Good heavens! Isn’t that ghost blogging or some such. You know, where you pump up your own posts?

    “It just shows you don’t need stained glass and ornate furnishings to be cosy.”

    Phew! There’s hope for my man shed/pub then. 😉

    “It could have been a Spoons at 11am. ”

    See? 🙂

    “But the highlight was the pie cabinet”

    Even though two out of the three aren’t labelled as pies?

    “which sounds like 85% of Life After Football’s blog.”

    Ouch!
    (you’re just jealous because he’ll gladly have a non-cask lager if need be) 😉

    “Nigella Lawson on the telly”

    Depending on when it was filmed, I may have to go have a lie down.

    “This Devon Cons Club stuck on Doom Bar and Otter and watched in horror as all the old folk in shorts drank Carlsberg.”

    And bang goes the adage ‘with age comes wisdom’. 😉

    “though the map guiding the inebriated to the exit and Gents could have been produced just for BRAPA.”

    For a second I thought it said ‘minefield’. 🙂

    “but in nearly every case you’ll get folk of different ages enjoying a laugh over a pint…And I can’t say fairer than that.”

    Agreed whole heartedly.

    Cheers

    Like

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