Bass pubs are fine, but I know what you’re really after* is some photos of Sir Humphrey’s homages to an Edwardian era. With Dickensian working conditions.

There’s been a tiny difficulty capturing the majesty of Sam’s pubs of late.

But you can get round the mobile phone ban one way;

Vintage KODAK Duaflex Box Camera [PL2909]

and I’d like you to imagine me using that Kodak to bring you these photos.

A tour of these seven pubs is a chance to sample the best of England and Wales (there is a Sam’s in Scotland but I’ve never got there). They’re probably not definitively the best places for cask OBB, but as pubs I’ve been to in recent years they’re hard to beat.

Albert Edward, Eccles (top)


Unexpectedly re-opened on my Eccles trip a year ago, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the Lamb.


No cask, but that keg Stout is great. AND the wonderful relief barmaid wandered over to see what I thought of the bottled beer (or to see what I was reading, perhaps).

Head across the Pennines on the M62 and arrive at “Eccles by the Sea”

Crow’s Nest, Cleethorpes


An ultra-rare new entry for a Sam’s last year.

Comfortable seating, friendly Landlord, the reassuring sound of low level debate about the Mariners, and the best pint of OBB I’ve had since Sinclairs in the ’90s.

The Crow’s Nest is almost social club comfortable; meanwhile in Gloucester..

Robert Raikes House, Gloucester


More National Trust than pub, it’s as vital a stop as that big church up the road. But with high prices in a city that’s not as posh as you think, I’ve never seen it busy. This is where I paid £4.55 for a small fruit beer.

Let’s go to Wales. Oh, you’re not allowed until the 3rd.

Murenger House, Newport, Gwent


I love the Murenger’s symphony in brown, and I can’t imagine it without the bar flies, either.

The post-work “five at the bar” discussed Rick Stein’s Padstow restaurant nonsense, and the pronunciation of lingerie and Ypres. I’d expected nothing less.

Perhaps my favourite Sam’s, because/in spite of the Quinoa Burger. Does Sir Humphrey know about the Quinoa Burger ?


On to the one that made Stockport famous (or was the Spread Eagle ?).

Boar’s Head, Stockport


One of the busiest Sam’s pubs, with a typically mature clientele.

Not you, Dave.


Look at those lacings.

Into the east of England. Semi-industrial Peterborough has a couple; I’ve picked the one that stares across at the old Oakham Brewery Tap.

Wortley Almshouses, Peterborough


Reports of Humphrey’s treatment of staff aren’t always complimentary, but his managers always seemed the model of efficiency and good cheer. Nonetheless, the Wortley stood abandoned for a while, denying the Posh their £2 pint (OK, £1.49 in the Spoons).

Their pub Facebook is better than my paltry photo (above) from 2016.

Image may contain: one or more people and drink


And finally, one from That London.

Cock, London


I met a strange couple of blokes from Reading here last Christmas at the end of their “Get pissed in London Sam’s on a Friday” trip.

The Cock will never make the GBG, but the OBB was magnificent.


The fruit beers were less than magnificently priced. But magnificent.


There’s a few pubs I haven’t been to since camera film was invented. Nellies in Beverley, the Cittie of Yorke in Holborn, the Crown in Glossop, Sinclairs, the Berkeley Hotel, the Bispham etc etc.

But this’ll do you for a start.

*Anyone asking for my Top 7 Donnington pubs will be blocked.


  1. And I’ve only been to two of those, although I could give you a long list of other good ones, starting, say, with the Boot in Chester and the Old Blue Bell in Preston.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I really enjoyed the Old Blue Bell on our disjointed Preston crawl last year. Would have got to the Boot this year if Covid hadn’t intervened.

      20 years ago the Swan in Holmes Chapel would have been on that list !


      1. No, the Swan was pretty characterless before. The it was given a refurb that involved putting *too many* walls back in, then they lost their cat, then they went keg, and then it closed.

        Are we going to have “top pub animals”, btw? 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Funny you say that about the Swan. Only went the once, in 1996, and did Sinclairs on same trip (week before the bombing). Memory plays tricks, and we don’t have many pubs that characterful round our way. Perhaps I was fooled by the quality of the beer (Museum) and the pizza !

        Top pub animals ? Sounds a winner.


      3. And I’ve only been to two of those – the Boars Head and the Cock Tavern -, although I could give you a long list of other good ones, starting, say, with the Boot in Chester, the Old Blue Bell in Preston and the White Horse Beverley.
        There’s several in London I prefer to the Cock Tavern including the Anchor Tap, Cittie of York and Olde Cheshire Cheese.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a shame the beer in the Boars Head is so variable. The nearby Queens Head is arguably the better pub but the beer there is even more variable. The Blue Bell in Levenshulme is one of the best, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve only been there three times, but I can’t think of a pub that epitomized the English pub more than this one. It just has the right feel. Right down to the completely inaccessible bathroom. You know you’re not in a Spoons…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been to the Scottish one, the Cramond Inn – no real ale and nothing particularly pleasing about the pub, which comes in the “tourist honeypot” category. Likewise no real ale at the Robert Raikes House – “more National Trust than pub” is spot on. I liked the Peterborough one, and Nellie’s in Beverley photographs well, if you need encouragement to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The Trip To Jerusalem was my Nottingham local in 1975/6, and it was where I first drank Sam Smiths – it was a regular there, along with Pedigree. It’s a smile, to think how it seemed an exotic visitor, quite different from the local brews in those days. But of the pubs mentioned, I’d say that the Old Blue Bell in Preston is the one that I remember most fondly, and the Brown Bear perhaps the most vividly.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved the Peterborough one & we have been to loads in London including the Cock.Always interesting to look behind the bar to decide what to drink -an interesting gin perhaps ? For some reason I sometimes find them a little “odd ” can’t put my finger on it -perhaps the phone ban ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m thinking of the Valley Inn, Drighlington, and what makes it odd, as it does indeed seem. Maybe it’s that in most pubs the licensee adds all manner of things that he or she thinks that the customers might like – and so inadvertently personalise them – but in Humphrey’s pubs they’re too scared to touch anything? They can be quite bare for some reason, I’ve found.


  5. I always worry when pub bloggers feature a Sam Smiths pub that Humph won’t spot the transgression, jump into his Bentley, and personally close the pub down. Clearly your keyboards are not as powerful as I think they are…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Been to all 7 of those. A good selection, though I’d probably have included the one near Rochdale station for a laugh, and the Angel and White Horse in Taddy for more sound reasons.
    But round here you could probably do a top 7 currently mothballed Sam Smiths pubs, Cricketers Selby and Wellington York spring to mind straight away!
    Then there’s the one near Rotherham that was in tier 3 well ahead of its time 2 years ago and wouldn’t serve us a pint on a Saturday afternoon unless eating a meal!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. How could I forget the Greyhound! It’s only 4 miles away! A classic

        Just checked, it was the Royal Oak, Ulley. Sort of Rotherham.


      2. Ulley very definitely borough of Rotherham; loads of smart pubs around Whiston area.

        I actually ate there on my visit years ago, very good, but refusing drinkers unless they were full a bit mean.


  7. “There’s been a tiny difficulty capturing the majesty of Sam’s pubs of late.”

    Did they steal that from the Seven Stars in Falmouth or vice versa?

    “and I’d like you to imagine me using that Kodak to bring you these photos.”

    Very surreptitious that. 😉

    “it’s the perfect accompaniment to the Lamb.”

    Proper pub that; even if it doesn’t have cask.

    “and the best pint of OBB I’ve had since Sinclairs in the ’90s.”

    Praiseworthy indeed!

    “This is where I paid £4.55 for a small fruit beer.”


    “and the pronunciation of lingerie and Ypres”

    Guffaw! I’d say, if you pronounce lingerie the wrong way, someone might say Ypres! 🙂

    “Does Sir Humphrey know about the Quinoa Burger ?”

    They’re suggesting an Oatmeal Stout to go with OBB pie?

    “Look at those lacings.”

    Are we still talking lingerie here?


    Here cheeks are so flushed I’d almost think that beer is, you know… thingy.

    “The fruit beers were less than magnificently priced. ”

    I’d almost think that girl in the photo for the Wortley Alms was having that cheery beer on the right.

    Oh, wait, my mistake. It says ‘organic’. 😉

    “But this’ll do you for a start.”

    And maybe even a finish! 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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