OK, OK, it’s really Hanley, but it’s slotted under a Stoke sub-heading in the GBG and that’s what counts.

In 2014 we stayed in the Hanley Premier Inn and I walked to Newcastle-Under-Lyme to save the bus fare, so the mile from Stoke Station was a doddle.

Hanley doesn’t have the greatest of reputations, despite some recent refurbihments.

Look closely behind the Christmas tree and you’ll spot the “Escape Stoke” Rooms, a personalised service that guides you to safer ground (somewhere near Stone, I believe).

But give me Stoke-on-Trent over Stratford-on-Avon, any day. Proper footballers,

Proper Wetherspoons,

Proper weird art.

My new Guide pub was still recovering from a BRAPA visit earlier that month. I’m not saying his quality control was slipping by the time he reached the Woodman,

but his quality control was slipping by the time he reached the Woodman (note the Bass glass in his pic though, lucky sod).

I loved this place, and not just because even though I missed out on the chance to win Kevin the Carrot.

A rare outing for this ’80s “classic”,

which I thought was Hot Chocolate on first hearing.

What a gorgeous pub, like a Black Country Ales conversion.

A few too many beers, continuing the Black Country them, but some corkers there.

And some corking conversation to enliven a £3 pint of Burton Bridge, mostly about more vegetables.

We’ve got onions







You had to be there.

A quiet night, but a mixed crowd, and plenty of chat if you wanted it.

In truth, the beer was decent but short of a little turnover, but it was a Monday night, and I can forgive the Woodman that as the lovely atmosphere compensated.

And anywhere that plays Frightened Rabbit’s Christmas song is OK with me.

Hopefully it’s doing a roaring trade on Black Eye Friday, or whatever Stoke calls the busiest night of the year.

13 thoughts on “….AND A NIGHT OUT IN STOKE

  1. A compassionate soul in the Grauniad said that all the closed pubs could be bought and turned into social housing.

    However, a rather rascally type said that someone called Tim had already made a fair pop at that.


  2. I’ve not been drinking up ‘anley duck for a few years so was quite surprised to discover the Woodman had not only reopened but grabbed a coveted slot in the latest GBG. Good to see my home towns (Burslem/Hanley) putting in decent showings for yours and BRAPAs recent visits. I suspect the veg conversation may have been to do with what was in someone’s Lobby


  3. Hi Martin, the Woodman was one of my Hanley highlights too, all the more so after I was disappointed to see it closed and virtually abandoned on a previous Potteries visit. To see it brought back to life and to such a high standard almost made the beer incidental for me, and shows what can be done with enough money/care and imagination. Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve probably spent more time in Stoke than me over the last few years.

    All those vegetables is a surprise given how much land thereabouts is now under plum orchards.

    It’s the Woodmen in Birmingham and Kingswinford i’ve used most.


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