Two new pubs in Harrogate for me, though one of them fell into the “arguable” category tickers love to argue about.
Both only ten minutes walk from the station, another couple to Harrogate’s astonishing collection of GBG pubs (eleven this year).
Those eleven entries are quite capable of changing names, if not location, each year, so I do wonder if I’ve been in the Inn at Cheltenham Parade when it was called Happy Harry’s or Dirty Betty’s or something.
It’s a very rare Tim Taylor pub in the Guide, too. Smart, not too posh, clearly geared for dining but not overpoweringly so.
So, a good place for my famous TT Landlord test, then.
What ! No Landlord. Surely you’d have your flagship beer ready to serve before opening ?
Oh well. Best, sorry “Boltmaker” it is then. £4.40 your pint in the Knightsbridge of the North.
I’m undecided about whether to eat or not, the manager doesn’t push it, I pick a table by the bar, in what What Pub ambitiously describes as a drinkers’ area.
Then I see a menu and they have squid and something called “Veloute” on the starters. Oh, go on then.
I ask a question about the Veloute and get the response “It’s a soup, Sir” that puts me in my place. Glad I didn’t ask what the Beignet was (“It’s a Liverpool right back, Sir“).
Someone cast aspersions on my pictures of lacings as an indicator of beer quality today, but I bet that many of you would look at this photo of the Boltmaker,
and go “Hmmm, NBSS 3“, and you’d be right. Cool but a bit thin.
There was no other obvious cask custom while I waited for my Veloute to be caught, and I would have made my pint last, but then a real Yorkshireman came in, the manager asked “Would you like another beer ?” and I realised how hard I find it to say no.
Well, the third pint pulled through was completely different to that first one, perhaps a 3.5 with a proper head and much richer. What can it all mean ? Don’t be first in a pub, I guess.
The Veloute was a gorgeous soup, too, and while the music was utterly naff I enjoyed hearing middle-aged couples booking in to their accommodation (with more luggage than our entire family took on a Caribbean cruise) and an extraordinary request for an off-menu cheese board.
“In THEORY, I don’t see why you can’t have a cheese board” said the over-helpful manager.
Ordering off-menu is akin to asking for a taster.
Wait till they complain about the condom machine…