18th February 2023.

With Stockton ticked by ten to four, we headed to Middlesbrough via Thornaby. Frankly, my ‘Boro tick was probably closer to our campervan pitch in Stockton, next to the Tees and 20 minutes stiff walk out into the dull suburbs west of the Spoons where I left Mrs RM to enjoy the town’s bijou shops.

Not many new Guide entries get universal acclaim, but the Chapel has had rave reviews in the ticking community, including honorary member Blackpool Jane.

Coincidentally, the Chapel used to be a chapel.

What Pub notes the owners’ combined 150 years of “drinking experience”, which is almost as much as BRAPA accrued in Norwich last week.

Despite the fear it would feel a bit “micro”, I loved the Chapel, one of the most welcoming pubs I’ve been in.

Come from the football ?” I was asked, which seemed a stretch seeing as the game was still on but I reckon it’s a top choice pre-match.

I asked the nice lady what beer to go for and she instantly said “the Brew York”. None of that “Depends what beer style/want a taster” nonsense.

Lovely cool, rich, beer too (NBSS 3.5+).

One large room with a good mix of custom from families and mates, I wished Mrs RM had been with me, if only to admire the carpet.

A bit different from the micropubs dominating Stockton and ‘Boro centres, and a future award winner, I reckon.

The stroll through the back streets of Ayresome to my rendezvous with Mrs RM at Akbars won’t win awards, but it is a route bursting with life. I stayed in an unnamed property for £21 near this shop a decade ago and lived to tell the tale.

A heaving Akbars had attracted the attention of Blackpool Jane after a personal recommendation from Juninho, who presumably didn’t have the lamb chops pre-match in 1996-97 as he (checks notes) took the Boro to relegation (not his fault).

In a week that Joe and Jill Biden were castigated for (shock) ordering the same dish, I’m afraid Mrs RM and I both succumbed to the lamb, which was great, though the pint of mango lassi was a bad idea.

Unlike some, we resisted the family naan…


  1. Unless there are a lot of owners what a great way of calling people old. I have 45 years drinking experience. Sounds much better put that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dave,
      You’ve made me realise I’m in my fifty-third year of using pubs.
      ( I wasted sixteen before that )


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