My second Harrogate tick (there’s 11 in the new GBG) was arguably pointless.

The Tap on Tower Street was in the Guide as a Tap & Spile a decade or so ago so those who abide by the Paisley Pronouncements on Pubbing would consider it ticked.

But I’d paid for my train ticket, fancied a walk, and couldn’t actually remember the Tap as a Tap, so why not revisit ?

I get to bring you pictures of shop floors,

the Montpelier Quarter,

and this famous sculpture of a young BRAPA being caught taking a leak at Harrogate train station.

TOTS, as the kidz call it, commits the sin of advertising “Crimbo“,

but otherwise was an exemplary all-rounder.

Friendly welcome, “Mr Blue Sky“, tight beer range (Old Rosie the only reminder of Tap & Spile* days),

and that gloriously foamy pint of Landlord (NBSS 3.5) I missed at the Tim Taylors pub.

A shame there weren’t more folk in to enjoy ELO and these lacings,

but I guess the call of Betty’s is still strong.

Betty’s doesn’t have the Tap’s range of craft cans, its ironic ’70s soundtrack, or its Games Room.

Looks like a branch of Games Workshop, doesn’t it ? The last game I played was Monopoly. In 1984. At Crimbo.

*Only two left according to What Pub, in Birmingham and just north of Durham.


  1. They’re a dying breed for sure. Even the famous Tap & Spile at Framwellgate Moor is soon to be refurbished and reopen as the Queen’s Head (its original name). I gather there’s a new entry a couple of doors away that’s worth a look though – do get in touch when you’re heading up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reminds me I haven’t been to the classic Tap and Spile in Lincoln for a while. That said, there are too many alternatives there, they could do with demolishing half of the place to make life easier.

    Does Betty’s have exploding steak and kidney pudding?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve reminded me that I only walked past that Lincoln Tap & Spile a week ago, Tom. Actually, it wasn’t open then, which is probably why it doesn’t pop up on What Pub when you search for “Tap & Spile”.


  3. I rarely recognise a pub, but I have ticked a fair few of those games. Some look a little ambitious to play in one visit!

    How many can we adapt to pub ticking? Ticket to Ride is easy enough, as your current rail travels show. Frustration! must involve the discrepancies between advertised and actual opening times. Is Articulate to do with trying to order that inadvisable final pint?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I vaguely remember the Tap & Spile chain, but am unsure whether there was a major brewer, or other pub chain, behind the concept.

    I’m sure one or other of the Mudge’s would know!


      1. Tap & Spile was a Cameron’s chain originally, wasn’t it? One of our regulars is a former landlord from one, I’ll see if he can clarify the origins when I next see him.


    1. There were at least two dozen Tap & Spiles owned by Pubmaster in the mid 1990s, Lindisfarne providing the lunchtime entertainment when the Stafford one opened in 1994.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting, I remember as a twild admiring the vast range of Lindisfarne fruit wines in the Grimsby one. I don’t remember anybody ever actually drinking one though.


  5. I’m sure Mr Blue Sky gets played all the time these days. I’ve certainly heard it more times since pubs reopened in May than I ever did in the 1970s. It doesn’t get any better, in the original meaning of the phrase. As in, it’s pretty crap and getting tired.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I never quite understood how Jeff Lynne – ex ELO – ended up with the Travelling Wilburys, but his work with the Beatles and his friendship with sadly-missed George H – whose band the Wilburys really were – probably explained that.

        Looking across his career I wouldn’t have put ELO at its zenith at all, and he showed better both before and after the breadth of his talents, I think.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I get confused btw Tap and Spiles and Hogshead Ale Houses – was the latter a London chain and the former northern? And wasn’t there another lot called Tut and Shive?


      1. I only know the one in Monkgate east of the cathedral, Mark, but it’s possible. Plenty of pubs were branded and rebranded quite quickly 20 years ago !


    1. The one in the centre was the Other Tap and Spile in North Street. Later renamed The First Hussar, it became a steak restaurant, The Whippet Inn, in 2014.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s