BELFAST

I’ve restarted my Monday lunchtime cinema sessions at Sheffield’s lovely Light, now that masks aren’t compulsory. Given that I’ve never been to a screen with more than half a dozen other customers and they all sit a dozen rows behind me I can live with that.

I went for the noon show, and fuelled up on Pad Thai (NPTSS 4) from Moor Market early. The lovely Thai owner remembered me from a year ago. I’m not sure I remember myself from a year ago.

“Belfast” is a masterpiece (NFSS 4.5). Beautifully filmed and acted, it’s only a tiny bit sentimental and Van Morrison* has never sounded better. I sobbed a few times as Jamie Dorman explained the Troubles to his 9 year old.

It’ll make you think, and make you want to be in a Wetherspoons in Belfast drinking Doom Bar.

Of course, Sheffield has culture; we’ve got Toyah and one of Matt’s metalcore bands in town next week.

But on the way home I just wanted a spiritual lift,

so I popped in The Grapes, a famous Irish pub I’ve somehow avoided in my first year Up North.

What a lovely place.

Tulips, proper seating, laughter (from the other bar, inevitably),

and Teenage Kicks, which seemed appropriate after what I’d just watched.

Apparently Guinness sales are booming in the UK.

That’s not down to me, but I had to have Guinness here (it took 5 minutes to pour), and save the Tetley for a future visit.

It was cool and silky, but not a patch on the Kilkenny pints I remember from 25 years ago, but someone will say that’s true of everything.

But at 14:30 on a Monday it was bustling, and as good a pub experience as I’ve had so far in Sheffield.

*Importantly, Belfast Child by Simple Minds is NOT on the soundtrack.

12 thoughts on “BELFAST

  1. Often wondered what is the hardcore CAMRAs explanation is for Good Guinness/Bad Guinness? Everyone who drinks it regularly knows the distinction is real, and certainly in Dublin the brewery put some effort to making sure its well kept. Yet according to CAMRA’s inner logic it shouldn’t be possible.

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    1. Long ago, before you were born William, Guinness in England was unpasteurised and featured in the brewery section of the GBG.

      I’ve no idea I’d there’s any practical difference between Irish and English Guinness now.

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      1. Guinness is like most beers. Sell a lot of it and quality is usually good. Walk into an estate pub where most of the old boys and the track-suit brigade are on the John Smiths and the Carlsberg, be sure the Guinness will be flat, tasteless and the head full of brown spots.

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      2. The Guinness you are thinking of Martin, was the bottled version, rather than the draught. It was bottle-conditioned, and thus unpasteurised, which is why it featured in the GBG.

        The Guinness brewery in Park Royal, London closed in 2005. The production of all Guinness sold in the UK and Ireland was switched to St. James’s Gate Brewery Dublin, so theoretically there should be no difference between the two countries.

        As others have commented, the quality must depend on turnover, how well the pipes have been cleaned, etc. I tend to avoid draught Guinness, for that very reason, and becasue of this, the last pint of Guinness I had, was six and a half years ago, In Dublin!

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  2. Always visit The Grapes when we’re in Sheffield. Call in for one and usually end up having two. Last time we were in there were 4 Irish guys standing around the small table near the door discussing stocks, shares and pensions. After a while one said “I’ve been very lucky with my investments and I’ve now got enough money to last me for life”, to the amazement of the guys around the table. With the inevitable punchline “As long as I die on Thursday”

    Try the Dog & Partridge just along Trippet Lane as well.

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    1. Oh yes, popped in the Dog & Partridge with Will last year, lovely place and similar style to the Grapes.

      There’s a very good joke along similar lines in “Belfast” but I won’t spoil it for you.

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  3. I have some truly shocking pints of Guinness.

    Whatever’s in the keg might be fine, but what has been standing in the pipes overnight maybe less so?

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  4. I think Guinness is the same as any other beer, the more a pub shifts, the better it’s going to be. In Ireland, they probably sell more than in the UK so you’re more likely to get a good pint.

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