19th March 2023.

An odd day. Up at 6am in Waterbeach, finish off the cold crispy beef, drive back to Sheffield, train to Nottingham with James, who then drove me straight back in his first car. The route James took from the Car Shop is the blue screechy one below.

People who take at least five attempts to pass their driving test make the best drivers, I always say. Actually, he did fine, considering his first day’s driving after passing the test was on the M1. It’s the potholes that kill you.

Home by 2pm, just in time for Mrs RM to join me at Morrisons for a rare “married couple shopping expedition”. I think it’s her first trip to the supermarket of the year, as we break down the patriarchal stereotypes or something.

I’d been hoping for an alcohol-free weekend after that Norwich excess, but despite carrying 3 tonnes of veg, Balti mix and jars of olives, Mrs RM suddenly said;

Are you taking me to that new Monkey bar in the Barracks then ?“.

I kid you not, I’d been having exactly the same thought while searching for the Geeta’s mango chutney.

Monkey Club is a bona-fide guaranteed non-entry in the GBG, but I’m there before Sheffield Hatter and that’s all that matters.

I’ve no idea about the Hillsborough monkey fixation (Blind Monkey, Northern Monkey, Brass Monkey, and the actual Arctic Monkeys from up t’road appearing in the park this summer), and I don’t need to know.

Built into the old barracks in a “value” shopping precinct across from the Spoons, and taking over from a vast pet shop, this is a genuine sports bar.

Brighton v Grimsby on multiple screens, some sort of pool and a shuffleboard round the corner.

I can see the CAMRA National Executive heading here on Saturday afternoon after the AGM, only to be dismayed at the lack of a craft option. Yes, the Meantime off.

Ban me now, but I’d been dreaming of a cold lager anyway (it was 15 degrees outside) so the Asahi was fine, even if it tasted EXACTLY the same as Mrs RM’s Peroni.

They had Bao Buns from the on-site street food kitchen, the pizza or chicken wings of the 2020s, and decent pub grub it was too; I suspect we’ll go back for the bao if not the beer.

Of course, swap the Asahi for flat Bass and I’d live here.

One miracle at a time.


  1. “Married couple shopping expeditions” are never a good idea. I just go and grab a coffee, surf the net on my phone, and then meet Mrs PBT’s at the checkout.

    She likes it that way, and so do I!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That inverted ‘U’ for an ‘N’ on the pub sign makes it a similar font to what Allied Breweries started using in about 1972.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whereas street food arguably devalues the arts and sciences of cooking, and therefore the professional standing of cooks – as street music does musicians – it’s still way better than gastro.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some pubs have street food vendors on a temporary basis, at weekends or through summer; some places (North Bar, SALT and this Monkey place) have a permanent little kitchen on site. I guess they’re dealing with a much more random pattern of dining than would sustain a traditional chef-led pub restaurant. I go in for bai buns at 11:30 in Birmingham, at 3:30 in Hillsborough, possibly 10pm in Kelham.


      1. Indeed they do. I once bought a pizza from a drive-in van parked in a pub’s car park. £14 for a chapatti-sized one. “Thin and crispy”: very thin. And hard. I asked for the simplest I could imagine, tomato, garlic and olive oil. “I have no garlic” she said…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The fact that both Peroni and Asahi are brewed in the same brewery is purely coincidence, of course. Still, I think the Japanese association has improved the quality of Peroni. When I was in Japan, the mass market lagers were always much better than we get here in Europe.

    Liked by 1 person

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