Regular readers will know that I’m not the smartest dresser in town; the suits, ties and cravats all went in the bin when I retired and I hope I won’t be expected to wear black tie for my own funeral.

Dave noted that Durham (and Northumberland) have a fair few posh pubs in the Guide, probably because there’s so few basic pubs in the old mining towns selling cask.

Take Stanley (oh, him again).

A dozen entries around a town of an astonishing 31,000, almost none of them selling cask. If you find real ale, it’ll probably be in a club, and very good. It’s the old fellas what drink it.

But stride out from the Heron Foods that sold us the most inedible Chinese takeaway in a carton a decade ago and you’ll come across several country house places that make Brunning & Price look like a craft union.

The South Causey Inn at Kip Hill, one of many, many crazy names round here (see also : No Place, Bearpark, Esh Winning and Hooker Gare.

I have never seen such a busy place, a car park packed with Bentleys and Jags, everyone dressed to the nines for a wedding that cost more than our house.

Here’s a picture of the Margo and Andrew realising their first pint as a married couple will kick off their life together with a solid tick in the GBG that some uncle will hopefully have brought them.

I genuinely worried I might not be let in at all, and as I stood at the bar with a grubby hand full of silver (pointless, it was card), I seemed to have become invisible again.

Half a dozen uniformed staff were running around, directing wedding guests to the reception, taking orders for amuse-bouche, and creating a waterfall of cocktails (above) that I suspected was going to cost rather more than my £2 odd half.

I think you’ll agree, this is the most iconic pub photo of the year. So far.

Eventually a young waiter took pity on me, just as I was wishing that table service was back (though there didn’t appear to be a table spare).

Inevitably, my half of Consett Pale (they had London Pride as well) was served in a handled jug, and inevitable I had to sit on an uncomfortable seat next to a beer barrel.

I loved it. The beer was pretty good (NBSS 3), unexpectedly so, and the drama of high earners with unrealistic expectations was worth every penny.

Absolutely no idea what the Fullers fixation is about; perhaps they’ve taken the Wykeham Arms as a template.


      1. Can’t you just visualise the young Martin of the late 1970’s at his school disco in the purple flares and frilly ruffled shirt, cravat flopping freely as he gyrates manically to “Jilted John”?


  1. I’ve stayed at the South Causey Inn a few times over the years.

    Back then it was an OK pub and B&B, but not a re-antiquated wedding venue as I recall.

    Looks like someone put on their thinking cap, maybe?


    1. The day I went may have been a one-off with a huge summer wedding, but they weren’t all wedding guests so I guess they’re doing something right to attract the well-heeled from Blaydon and Consett.


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